WAG 23-02-02-a.

An intentional program violation (IPV) happens when a client intentionally does any of the following:

  • Does not tell the truth or misleads the Department about any facts that affect eligibility. This includes withholding information, as well as saying something they know is not true.
  • Violates SNAP policy on the legal use of SNAP coupons.

The Office of the Ombudsperson refers Welfare Fraud Hotline referrals to the Family Community Resource Center for follow-up action.

Overpayment Occurred Over A Period of Less Than 3 Consecutive Months

When the overpayment occurred over a period of less than 3 consecutive months, refer the overpayment as a suspected intentional program violation (SIPV) only if one or more of the following conditions apply:

  • the overpayment was less than 3 consecutive months only because Department staff discovered the overpayment and took action to prevent the overpayment from continuing; or
  • the client had one or more prior overpayments that were not the result of agency error; or
  • the total overpayment is more than $100; or
  • the person suspected of an intentional program violation admits that they gave false information or withheld information to receive SNAP benefits.

If the overpayment occurred over a period of less than 3 consecutive months and none of the above conditions apply, refer the overpayment as an inadvertent household error.

Overpayment Occurred Over A Period Of 3 Or More Consecutive Months, But Totaled $100 Or Less

When the overpayment occurred over a period of 3 or more consecutive months, but totaled $100 or less, refer the overpayment as an SIPV only if one or more of the following conditions apply:

  • the overpayment amount was $100 or less only because Department staff discovered the overpayment and took action that prevented a larger overpayment; or
  • the client has had one or more prior overpayments that were not the result of agency error; or
  • the person suspected of an intentional program violation admits that they gave false information or withheld information to receive SNAP benefits.

If none of the above conditions apply, refer the overpayment as an inadvertent household error.

  • Overpayment Occurred Over a Period of 3 or More Consecutive Months and Totaled More Than $100
  • When the overpayment occurred over a period of 3 or more consecutive months, and totaled more than $100, refer the overpayment as an SIPV.

Client Did Not Understand Or Could Not Report

Do not refer an overpayment as an SIPV when there is evidence that the client did not understand or was unable to comply with their obligation to report household circumstances or changes in circumstances due to:

  • a language barrier, or
  • a reading or comprehension error caused by illiteracy or mental impairment, or
  • a documented medical or personal crisis. Such a crisis could be an eviction, hospitalization, or violent crime against the client with the reporting obligation. The crisis must have occurred in the 2 weeks before the client reported false or misleading information.

If the client admits that they intentionally withheld information or gave false information to receive SNAP benefits, the overpayment may be referred as an SIPV even if there is evidence of a language barrier, illiteracy, mental impairment, or a medical or personal crisis.

When the client has already had an IPV, only report a new overpayment as an SIPV if the overpayment happened after the most recent date of:

  • a decision for a current IPV, or
  • the client's signature on a hearing waiver.

Do not disqualify a client suspected of an IPV until an IPV is established. An IPV is established when the client signs a waiver of right to an administrative disqualification hearing (ADH), or a hearing officer or court rules that an IPV was committed. Determine eligibility and benefit level in the usual manner while an SIPV referral is pending.

All overpayments are reviewed centrally for possible prosecution. Review criteria include:

  • the amount of the overpayment;
  • more than one SSN;
  • client used false documents;
  • previous welfare fraud convictions;
  • whether the client is a government employee; and
  • duplicate assistance.

If a case meets the criteria, it is referred to the Bureau of Investigations (BOI). BOI has 10 workdays to decide to take the case for prosecution. If BOI does not take the case for prosecution, the case automatically transfers to an active claim to be collected as an Inadvertent Household Error.

When the Family Community Resource Center reports an overpayment as a SIPV it is referred to BOI for review. BOI uses the documentation provided by the Family Community Resource Center to decide if there is enough evidence to prove an IPV. BOI has as long as they need, to make a decision. If BOI decides there is not enough evidence to prove an IPV, continue treating the overpayment as an Inadvertent Household Error (see PM 23-02-02-c).

The claim does not become an IPV unless the client:

  • waives the right to an Administrative Disqualification Hearing (ADH);
  • has an adverse decision by an ADH;
  • signs a consent decree stating that a violation occurred; or
  • has an adverse court decision.