Modified: February 9, 2018 1:19pm
The Erie County Special Investigations Division (“SID”), an anti-fraud investigatory unit of the Department of Social Services, completed reviews of 2,988 cases of suspected welfare fraud in 2017 and uncovered overpayments in these cases totaling over $4.1 million. The SID works with the Erie County District Attorney’s office to prosecute fraud cases when possible, with 39 such prosecutions occurring in 2017 that obtained approximately $60,000 in restitution along with producing roughly $95,000 in cost avoidance, a state-standardized measure of tax dollars saved which is used by all counties throughout NYS. These cost-avoidance savings represent funds that will not be disbursed to individuals who have been caught committing welfare fraud. In total, SID was able to recover more than $4 million in 2017 for all identified overpayment cases.
Welfare fraud includes making false or misleading statements and/or concealing information in order to receive or continue to receive benefits in program areas one would otherwise not be entitled to. In addition to the prosecution of welfare fraud, the SID conducts an Administrative Disqualification Hearing (“ADH”) process that results in disqualifying individuals from the SNAP and Temporary Assistance programs for concealing facts pertinent to their eligibility for benefits. Erie County was recognized in 2015 by the NYS Office for Temporary Disability Assistance (“OTDA”) for its best practices in conducting these hearings, which in 2017 produced a cost avoidance of approximately $500,000 for a total 2017 cost avoidance of $595,000.
For more information:
On the Special Investigations Division and to report suspected fraud, click here .
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