Supervisors inquire about the need for more fraud detection

NORWICH – In the discussion about hiring two caseworkers to relieve overtime stress-related turnover within the Social Services department, which the Chenango County Board of Supervisors agreed to do last week, lawmakers also questioned the need to hire more fraud investigators.

Both supervisors representing the City of Norwich said back in February that the quality of life in city neighborhoods would improve with more fraud detection. According to minutes of a Health and Human Services Committee on Feb. 28, Supervisor Robert M. Jeffrey, Wards 4,5,6, and Supervisor James J. McNeil, Wards 1,2,3, asked whether criminal checks and drug testing occurred before individuals received assistance.

Department of Social Services Commissioner Bette Osborne said three fraud investigators were sufficient to handle the number of applications for services and the amount of cases of reported fraud has remained stable over the recent past. Osborne said fingerprinting is mandatory for cash assistance, but not criminal checks. Drug and alcohol assessments occur only if there is an indicator on an applicant’s questionnaire.

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