NORWICH – Chenango County has accumulated more than $800,000 in outstanding debt within its fraud unit, Department of Social Services Commissioner Bette Osborne told two committees this week. The amount has accumulated over a 6 to 8-year period and is primarily the result of errors within the department and recipient fraud.
Approximately $35,000 per year is currently collected, Osborne said, but a recent New York State audit has advised DSS to do a better job. Chenango County is one of 48 counties in the state that were cited for accumulating too much fraud debt.
The amount outstanding includes $265,000 in Medicaid; $260,000 in Temporary Assistance; $157,000 in Food Stamps; $118,000 in Family Emergency Services; $2,000 in Day Care; and $1,000 in HEAP.
“This has not been my intent, nor my predecessor’s. This has been a case of the smaller alligator biting me. I thought this was the standard. It is hard to collect these. Some counties actually have hired collection agencies,” Osborne told the Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday.
The county accumulated $241,000 in debt in 2006.