When someone receives relief or benefits through government programs, they are said to be on welfare. In most cases, someone cannot qualify for welfare unless they are included in a particular financial status, above a certain age, or suffer from some sort of disability, such as a debilitating personal injury. One of the most common forms of welfare benefits are those provided through the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the form of food stamps and meals.
As people from coast to coast continue to struggle financially in today's economy, more and more Americans are finding themselves receiving welfare. In fact, it is estimated that about one-third of all U.S. citizens are benefitting from at least one form of welfare. If that number seems high, the government feels the same way and has been taken steps in recent years to catch those who would abuse the system.
But with extra zealotry to try to crack down on those who take unfair advantage of welfare, it is entirely possible that many who actually need the relief programs are being unfairly treated. If you have been accused of welfare fraud, you need to know how to defend yourself because, if you don't, you could wind up facing serious penalties and an immediate loss of benefits.
Strong Evidence in the Face of Powerful Opposition
In terms of welfare fraud cases, the defendant is usually going up against a government body of some form. This means you could be hard-pressed to form a reliable defense on your own. Opt to retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer who understands the intricacies of your case and how to provide you with protection against the harsh scrutiny of the government.
In many cases, you may have to collect extensive financial records that show your expenditures during the time you have received welfare benefits. It is important to show that your welfare was going towards basic amenities, such as food, shelter, clothing, and necessary conditions for comfortable living.
If you are receiving welfare due to a personal injury that keeps you from working, medical records can provide powerful evidence in your defense. Be sure to keep any details from examinations and treatments and, whenever possible, have your doctor or physician sign any instructions of care they give you.
Due to the legalese that can surround welfare programs, it is entirely possible that you have inadvertently provided falsified information that led to you receiving benefits. If unintentional negligence led to the errors, an experienced litigator can argue that this is no way a criminal act of welfare fraud. For example, you may have simply forgotten to report that one of your dependents moved out of your house, or you weren't sure if you had to immediately report that you had started a new job.
Take Action Before Your Livelihood is Taken From You
The unfortunate truth is that the government often sees people as just case numbers. When you have been accused of welfare fraud, even if you desperately need assistance, it could all be stripped away from you if you are convicted.
To avoid unfair and harsh consequences, it is imperative that you protect your rights and build your case with a Long Island criminal defense attorney from Prime & O'Brien, LLP. With nearly a decade of experience and a proven track record of success, we could be the ones who set your life on the right path again.
Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.