43 Court Street
Convention Towers - 2nd Floor
Buffalo, New York 14202
The Special Investigations Division [SID] investigates welfare fraud, including Temporary Assistance, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Day Care and HEAP and works aggressively to recover funds wherever possible to reduce the cost of assistance programs for Erie County taxpayers.
Operations Update 3/20/20:
- In-person service by the Special Investigations Division office has been suspended.
- To report fraud, use one of the following options:
Welfare Fraud: Prevention, Prosecution and Recovery
Welfare Fraud is any intentional action which results in a recipient receiving benefits or payments to which they are not entitled. In an effort to prevent fraud, our Front End Detection [FEDS] Unit conducts investigations on applicants for temporary [public] assistance. These investigations include a number of verification activities, including visits to the applicant's home. They are designed to verify the basic facts on the application.
In 2010, our FEDS Unit completed 3,700 Temporary Assistance and Day Care investigations. Identifying discrepancies in applicant information and preventing ineligible cases from being opened, resulting in more than $7 million in welfare savings.
Rectifying welfare fraud after it's occurred involves the use of 3 strategies: criminal prosecution, administrative sanctions and restitution. If fraud is alleged after a case has been opened, our team of investigators work to detect the fraud and ultimately prosecute civilly or criminally those individuals who have defrauded the public benefit system.
Any and all overextended benefits issued to ineligible recipients (intentionally or unintentionally) are pursued for collection via grant reduction, recoupment, judgments and income executions within the parameters of Social Service regulations and NYS law. In 2010, the combination of monies recovered and FEDS cost avoidance resulted in more than $38 million due to the efforts of the Special Investigation Division.
Effective August 3, 2015, the Resource Recovery Unit of Erie County Social Services is moving to the Special Investigations Division, located on the second floor at 43 Court St., Buffalo.
Resource Recovery had previously been located on the seventh floor of the Rath Building, 95 Franklin St., Buffalo. The unit is responsible, in part, for obtaining liens from applicable clients seeking Temporary Assistance. Clients are to be referred to the new location.
Additionally, starting in November 2015, Administrative Disqualification Hearings (ADH) will move to the second floor of SID after previously being held at the 7th floor of the Rath Building. These hearings will be scheduled on Thursday mornings and will commence at 9 a.m. Hearings will continue to be scheduled on two or three Thursdays each month, depending on the volume of hearings held.
How you can help us:
If you become aware of potential welfare fraud, contact us at one of the following:
Telephone Hot Line:
Special Investigations Division
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202