NORWICH – Notwithstanding a popular notion held by many in the community that Chenango County is a haven for welfare recipients, it is a misconception, says Chenango Department of Social Services Bette Osborne - one that she and the fraud department staff at DSS are working to correct.
The DSS fraud investigation unit is responsible for investigating reports of fraud and verifying that applicants are eligible for services. Referrals come from department staff, law enforcement, and area residents.
In a recent report released to the county’s Health and Human Service Committee, the Chenango County Department of Social Services fraud unit estimates cost savings of nearly $736,000 in detected welfare fraud in 2012. Of those cost savings, most - $632,640 - comes as a result of the Front End Detection System (FEDS), which entails detecting fraud, and whether it is intentional or unintentional on the part of the beneficiary at the point of application, according to Osborne.
“For most of these people, fraud is not intentional,” she said, explaining that many recipients who undergo welfare fraud do so without realizing they have violated rules and guidelines established by the state.