Fafsa/Pell Grant Fraud?

<p>I'm new to all of this but wanted to ask a question for those who might be able to answer.</p>

<p>My 17 year old will be finishing up high school in June and heading to college in the Fall. While talking about it, she said my ex is going to college for free through FAFSE/Pell Grants. I find this hard to believe because she is receiving over $25,000 a year from me, plus she is disabled collecting $12k a year, in addition to her PT job making $10k a year. Do these things matter when it comes to getting grants and financial aid?</p>

<p>Like I said, I'm new to all this and just thought I'd ask the question.</p>

<p>Untaxed Social Security Disabiltiy payments are not reportable for FAFSA. Spousal support and child support are, as are earnings. But, it's entirely possible that her AGI and other info would still have resulted in a Pell-eligible EFC last year, especially if she has dependents. Approximately 1/3 of all FAFSA's are selected for verification when processed (and many colleges verify more than the required %) and FA officers are trained to spot fraud...which includes incomes that looks lower than reasonable. They will request additional documentation as needed. Starting this year, verification will mean a direct link to IRS data.</p>

<p>The reality is that you probably don't know much about the EFC formula or your ex's application and you really have no grounds to accuse her of fraud based upon supposition. I would let the pros handle it unless something concrete comes to light.</p>

<p>And this is really none of your business, is it?</p>

<p>I think it is great when adults go back to school- it must be difficult to do, juggling family, work and coping with a disability.</p>

<p>Shouldn't those who do so be encouraged?</p>

<p>Since he is providing half her support I think it is in his interest. He has a child with the woman and if she is cheating on her financial aid it is not a good example. If she is claiming the daughter it probably would make her EFC very low so she would get grants, but I bet the dad is claiming her since he is probably providing most of the financial support, and would gain the most from the deduction.</p>

<p>Do you have enough details to be reasonably suspicious that she's cheating on the financial aid forms? If she's going to a community college, it's plausible that she's getting partial Pell that helps pay for the school (though depending on the state even full Pell might not be enough any more).</p>

<p>Also, (though his reasons may be vindictive) I wish more people would report people who might be cheating the system....Might be more $ for those truly deserving.</p>

<p>nj, claiming someone as a dependent for tax purposes doesn't affect FAFSA, nor does support generally. The custodial parent is the one who the student lives with more than 50% of the time.</p>

<p>Thank you for the plethora of information. I was just finding out more and more on the situation. She is cheating the system as I also found out that my daughter is getting free lunch at school. There is no way the school knows about the $25k I am giving her. If she is lying about that, she is certainly lying about FAFSA and Pell grants.</p>

<p>What am I going to do?? I have no clue at this point but knowing more about this is certainly a good thing. Not too sure what they would do anyway even if they found out. Are there severe penalties that I might not want her to go through?</p>

<p>In NJ, family of 3 w/ 34000 annual income gets reduced lunch price, 24k gets free lunch...your state could be higher or lower depending on cost of living compared to NJ. Her disability might not count in the figure soooo.</p>

<p>I get that you think the 25k should be buying your child's lunch and I'd be annoyed too, but some people like to take full advantage of the "system."</p>

<p>Curious what her part time job is that she also gets disability. She can't do her part-time job full time and forgo the disability. It is good she wants to go to school and have better opportunities. Hopefully she gets a better job and you can cut back your payments someday. You should encourage her to go to school and become a doctor!</p>

<p>I thought free/reduced lunch was a national program (based on national guidelines). Perhaps I am wrong.</p>

<p>It is, and the income qualifications are national. They're in the Federal Register:</p>

<p><a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/notices/iegs/IEGs11-12.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/notices/iegs/IEGs11-12.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>The penalties for lying on FAFSA are federal and can include fines and repayment. If you're intent on making sure she's not getting benefits that she's not entitled to then you can contact your D's school administrator and ask that they verify her application for the school lunch program. You can also email the financial aid office at her college and report what you know, which may or may not result in verification amd an adjustment of her aid package. Alternatively, you can report it to the Dept of Ed. I think the number is 1-800-4-FED-AID, but just google it if that's not right.</p>

<p>Please understand that they may or may not take action but, in either case, they're unlikely to keep you in the loop at all.</p>

<p>Normally, I'd encourage someone to report possible fraud. However, think about it: 1. If your ex gets an education, she will be less dependent upon your money and better able to provide for your daughter. 2. If your ex finds out you reported her, and/or that you relied upon info your daughter told you, it will destroy any ability to maintain civility. Your daughter will be the one who gets hurt.</p>

<p>^^^</p>

<p>Good advice since the relationship with the D is at stake.
You should not be using info gained thru the D to cause probs with the ex....she may do it to you some day. Your D will somehow be "blamed" if your ex gets into trouble for opening her mouth to daddy. </p>

<p>That said, there is much fraud going on and it is disgusting. there should be a "verification process" for the free/reduced lunch program like there is for FAFSA.</p>

<p>WandMParent quote</p>

<p>Do you have enough details to be reasonably suspicious that she's cheating on the financial aid forms? If she's going to a community college, it's plausible that she's getting partial Pell that helps pay for the school (though depending on the state even full Pell might not be enough any more).</p>

<p>========</p>

<p>Good point.....or her EFC may be low enough that she qualifies for state and other aid as well.</p>

<p>Or, quite frankly, there's the possibility that your daughter doesn't really know what's paying for mom's school. Going to school for "free" to some people means paying nothing out of pocket. She might be taking a small Stafford loan to pay for a community college OR the school might have some kind of program set up for workers who are trying to get back in the workforce (laid off, disabled, etc) that your D doesn't know about. </p>

<p>Don't know about free/reduced lunch though.</p>

<p>Yes, your DD may not have the facts, your wife could be taking COA 100% in loans and that is administered by financial aid. When my DD was doing a masters, many of her cohort saw their loans as free money. I would not raise a stink based on unverified information. Though you certainly could keep your eyes open for corroborating information.</p>

<p>Because your ex is working and on disability does not mean that there is some type of fraud. On the contrary. The government encourages ssi and ssd recipients to go to school and work. I personally know people that are doing both. The program is below. It really makes a lot of sense. </p>

<p>Your</a> Ticket To Work</p>

<p>She might be entirely entitled to the FAFSA/Pell Grants but I did get a copy of the HS form from free lunch and she is required to claim my contributions but didn't. So if she lied about that, I would say she probably also lied on the other forms. We do not have a good relationship.
She and her family work the system. 4 of 5 kids are on disability for various things. The mother also gets assistance from the state. They find ways to have the government support them instead of getting jobs. It's really an abuse of process. One sibling moved from one state because they wouldn't help her to another state that would. Now they pay for her apartment, give her food stamps and pick her for to do her shopping, all because she is too lazy to get a job.</p>