Reporting Public Assistance Fraud in California

The California Public Assistance Fraud Reward Program offers informers financial incentives for providing information that uncovers fraudulent abuse of welfare assistance. The state has penalties for public assistance fraud, which varies depending on the type of deceit committed. You should report public assistance fraud in CA if you think someone is wrongfully claiming welfare assistance. If you are wondering, “How can I report public assistance fraud in California” because you know of an offender, you may be eligible for a portion of the recovered amount.

How to Report Public Assistance Fraud in California

If you know someone is committing public assistance fraud in California, then you should report it immediately. If you are pondering, “Can I report public assistance fraud if I only suspect fraudulent activities?” the answer is yes. The state will look into all public assistance fraud reports in California to determine if fraud has been committed and if the issue was deliberate or unintentional.

You can report public assistance fraud to the county welfare fraud agency or directly to the California Department of Social Services. Some county offices allow reporting over the phone, by email or through an online form. Some programs, like Medi-Cal, have a special fraud bureau, which you can contract directly.

If you are reporting public assistance fraud, you will be required to provide as much information about the situation as possible. This is because the penalties for public assistance fraud will often depend on the type and extent of the fraud. Fraud can occur when applying for food assistance programs and alike, as well as while receiving benefits. When you report public assistance fraud, write down everything you see and hear. Depending on which type of fraud you are reporting, the welfare agency may need the following details:

  • Falsification of income: You will be asked to provide the name and address of the employer, the form of income, how long the income has been coming into the household and how often the person is being paid.
  • Hidden assets: In this instance, you will be asked to provide the name and address of the bank where the hidden assets are being held or, alternatively, the address of a property that has not been disclosed.
  • Unreported family members: You will be asked for the names and ages of the persons who moved out of or into the household. You will also be asked when they moved out and their relationship to the claimant.

Find out more about the types of fraud you can report to receive compensation from the state in our in-depth guide .

Penalties for Public Assistance Fraud in California

Public assistance fraud is illegal. There are severe penalties for public assistance fraud that the state will enforce on offenders. Concurrently, the Public Assistance Fraud Reward Program rewards informants who are able to present information that leads to prosecution and recovery of benefits. All California welfare programs require you to provide truthful information when you are applying, that includes CalFresh, CALWORKs, Medi-Cal, energy assistance and other assistance programs. Penalties for public assistance fraud typically include paying the state back as well as additional fines. In some cases, offenders will face jail time.

For specific details about the fees, incarnation duration and other penalties for public assistance fraud in California, download our comprehensive guide.

California Public Assistance Fraud Reward Program

The Public Assistance Fraud Reward Program has requirements in order for you to receive compensation. When you are reportingpublic assistance fraud, you must provide original information pertaining to a violation of California’s public assistance fraud laws. Welfare assistance fraud already known by the department will not result in admission to the reward program and corresponding compensation. Other requirements include being 18 years of age and older and providing contact information. Anyone may report public assistance fraud in California anonymously, but anonymous informants will not be compensated.

The Public Assistance Fraud Rewards are also subject to the availability of monies. The amount you receive will be a percentage of the amount that is recovered. You will not be eligible for a reward if you have already received an award for providing information about another form of welfare fraud relating to the same individual. Even if you are not eligible for a reward, the California Department of Social Services will still submit and process your welfare fraud report and evaluate the situation for purposes of investigation. You should bear in mind that the length of time from reporting a possible welfare fraud to conducting the investigation and the eventual prosecution can take several years to complete. There is also no guarantee that you welfare fraud report will lead to an actual prosecution.


What Kind of Assistance Does the Department of Social Services Offer?

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) provides various types of assistance benefits to residents of the state. Through the CDSS, individuals and families can obtain temporary cash assistance, food assistance and more. Furthermore, applicants who are eligible for the benefits of one CDSS program will often qualify for the assistance benefits of another. Find out everything you need to know about the services and benefits provided by the Department of Social Services by downloading our helpful CDSS guide.


Who Can Benefit From California’s Department of Social Services?

To receive benefits from the CDSS, you and your family will need to meet certain eligibility criteria. The criteria used to determine an applicant’s eligibility typically include income, age, resources and citizenship, among other factors. Find out if you qualify for California DSS assistance benefits here.