Did DCF tell you that you have to pay back some of your benefits or that they think you did something wrong?
If the Department for Children and Families (DCF) granted you more benefits than you were supposed to get, this is called an “overpayment.” Payments from DCF include 3SquaresVT (food stamps), Fuel Assistance and Reach Up cash benefits.
When DCF believes you received an overpayment, you may receive a “Claim Notice” or a “Program Violation Letter.” When DCF suspects you got an overpayment by violating program rules on purpose, DCF may start an investigation. An investigator from the Fraud and Claims Unit may call you or come to your home to talk to you.
What should I do?
If you receive a Claim Notice or a Program Violation Letter, contact us. Do not sign any papers, even if the notice says there is a deadline to respond. Contact us right away. Fill out our form and we will call you back. Your information will be sent to Legal Services Vermont, which screens requests for help for both Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Vermont. You can also call us at 1-800-889-2047.
If an investigator from the Fraud and Claims Unit contacts you, contact us (fill out our form) before you speak to the investigator.
- You have the right to tell the investigator that you do not want to discuss the issue right now.
- You have the right to ask the investigator to leave and to stop calling you.
- You can tell the investigator that you are going to consult an attorney.
- You have the right to ask for the investigator’s name and contact information.
- You should not sign any papers or give the investigator any information before you talk with an attorney.
Why is this important?
Overpayments usually have to be repaid to DCF, or at least some part of the overpayment has to be repaid. Also, if DCF believes that it has enough evidence to show that you committed fraud, it may refer your case for prosecution.
Note that there are some special rules for 3SquaresVT. If DCF proves that you violated 3SquaresVT program rules on purpose, the department will demand full repayment and disqualify you from the program for a year or more. Your information will be reported to the federal government so you cannot get food stamps benefits anywhere in the United States.
If you get a notice about an overpayment or if an investigator from the Fraud and Claims Unit contacts you, contact us right away.