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Question About Food Stamp Fraud

Sycamore, IL |

I am trying to figure out my rights and responsibilities in this matter and could use some help. I am a mother of two children and have been on the Link card for the past couple of years. My children's father and I had rented a home owned by my parents and shortly after that split up. He moved into random places (his moms, cousins, grandmas, etc.) and we have tried to make things work several times between then and now. Either way, I applied for Link when he moved out (since I was a waitress and went to college full time) and now my new caseworker is telling me I have to repay them from the time my benefits started because I had no proof that the father wasn't living there. I understand their concern, he still had his mail delivered here and he put down this was his address for his new job, and I have no actual proof that he wasn't here since he never lived anywhere where he would have had to sign a lease or anything. This is my THIRD caseworker and never once had I had a problem or concern with the others, in fact, they were aware of these circumstances. I was calling my current caseworker to let them know that he was moving back into the house when all this popped up. I was just accepted at a University on a full academic scholarship, and like I said before, I have two kids. It was never my plan to 'live' off of this card, just temporary help. I am completely terrified that I am going to be thrown in jail over this misunderstanding, any advice would help!

Attorney Answers 3

  1. You need to appeal their determination if it's not too late. You should have an attorney help you with this process. If legal fees would be an issue, Prairie State Legal Services may be able to help you navigate the process. I believe the closest office to you would be in St. Charles. See if you can get in touch with your prior caseworkers as often DHS and similar agencies have internal communication problems. Stay on top of this and be aggressive. Best of luck to you and congratulations on the scholarship.

    I hope that this answer helps you in a general sense, but it does not constitute legal advice, nor tax advice of any kind, and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and myself or my firm.

  2. Get statements from people he lived with to show he was not living with you. Appeal any adverse decision. If they start trying to make this a fraud case, get a lawyer.

    The information you obtain from this website is not legal advice.

  3. You may be about two thirds right and about a third wrong. Since you're not swimming in money, check the NIU Law School for some clinical assistance. Clinic will LOVE your case, a lovely marriage of constitutional due process and administrative law. You will not come out entirely unscathed but your will not be steamrolled into the stone age either. Push the school thing. Don't let anything stop that. You will survive this.