Ohio Collecting Old Welfare Overpayments

Thursday, 17 Nov 2011 03:21 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Ohio is demanding that former welfare recipients from up to 25 years ago who were overpaid pay back millions of dollars, even though most of the non-fraudulent overpayments were a result of administrative errors.
 
The state’s Department of Job and Family Services told the Columbus Dispatch an estimated 14,000 notices have been sent out to collect welfare overpayments totaling about $18 million from before 2001.
 
In addition, the newspaper said, an estimated 8,000 Ohioans owe $8.4 million in food stamp overpayments that go back more than 10 years.
 
People who don’t pay back the welfare overpayments within 30 days after receiving the letters will have the money deducted from their state income tax refunds next year, and people with food-stamp overpayments will have their federal refunds docked.
 
Jack Frech, director of the Athens County, Ohio, Department of Job and Family Services, says it is “ridiculous” to try to collect relatively small amounts of money from people who probably do not have the money and never committed a crime.
 
Until this year, the state only collected overpayments that were less than 10 years old, but last year the U.S. Department of Agriculture lifted the 10-year limitation for collecting food stamp overpayments and the state office removed limitations for collecting the welfare money, in order to be consistent.

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