Benefit Trafficking Unit
The Office of Inspector General Benefit Trafficking Unit (BTU) investigates instances of public assistance trafficking in which individuals either attempt to traffic or actively traffic benefits by buying, selling or trading benefits for cash or ineligible items including: tobacco, alcohol, firearms, drugs and gambling. Violations of the Food Assistance Program occur when food assistance is redeemed for cash, offered for sale in person or on the internet, or when unauthorized items are bought or sold.
Individuals who intentionally violate the Food Assistance Program are disqualified for a period of 12 months for the first offense, 24 months for the second offense and permanently for the third offense.
Some retailers violate the Food Assistance Program by accepting food assistance for cash at less than par value or for unauthorized items such as tobacco, alcohol, etc.
In Michigan, the Bridge Card is the only way to receive food assistance.
The Bridge Card is used for redeeming food assistance and cash assistance through the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system. The EBT system is not a change in policy for receiving food assistance; it only changes the way assistance is delivered. Electronic issuance is done via an authorized ATM or at a point of sale device at an authorized retail store.
Medicaid assistance trafficking includes prescription forgery, prescription theft and narcotic shopping with multiple prescribers/pharmacies.
Report Benefit Trafficking
If you suspect that a client has trafficked his/her benefits, fill out the complaint form to report it.
If you suspect that a business is buying benefits for food or cash for non-food items or contraband such as drugs or weapons, please fill out the business client form to report it.
To report benefit trafficking fraud by phone, call 800-222-8558.