SNAP, TANF, other funds recovered.

The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) Benefit Recovery Unit reported more than $2.5 million in taxpayer dollars was recouped over the past quarter after previous investigations showed public funds were defrauded or misused. 

The funds were recovered from cases involving misuse of SNAP, Child Care Discretionary Funding, and TANF subgrant funds broken down by month in the following areas:

When funds are recouped, they go back to the funding source they came from. For instance, if it’s TANF funds that are recouped, they will go back to the TANF funding stream to be reallocated by the federal government. This would be the same for for SNAP and Child Care Discretionary Funding.

How such misallocations are discovered can be varied, says Danny Blanton, Chief Communications Officer for MDHS.

“One way would be if our monitoring division identified and substantiated questioned costs within a subgrant. In that case we would recoup those questioned costs. In some cases, we identify funds that were used incorrectly or incorrectly issued and those would be recouped by benefit recovery. In some cases they are self-reported,” Blanton said. “And there are the cases where our investigations division investigates fraud and once substantiated turns it over to the District Attorney for prosecution, which also results in fraudulently used funds being recouped.”

The amount has increased due to the fact that the MDHS monitoring division is now able to provide appropriate oversight of subgrantees. They also haven’t included child care in the past but now are, MDHS says. MDHS says this is indicative of how the department is taking all necessary measures to ensure internal controls are in place to identify incorrectly used funds while making certain taxpayer dollars go to the people who need them and qualify for them.

“We have made a concerted effort to reconfigure and reinforce our monitoring of subgrantees to ensure total compliance,” Sandra Griffith, Chief Compliance Officer for MDHS, said. “Through risk assessment, training, and stringent oversight, we will make sure all questioned costs are identified, investigated, and, if needed, recouped. We will make certain the money that is intended for Mississippians in need is used for the identified purpose.”