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ElmiraTelegram

County Officials Report Millions Of Dollars Saved By Fraud Investigators

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This morning, Chemung County officials reported what they call the "very positive results" of the work of the Welfare Fraud Unit at the Department of Social Services.  Since the addition of two part-time fraud investigators, beginning in April of 2016, to its Special Investigations Unit there have been increased fraud referrals and field visits, which has enhanced cost avoidance.    

“These officers have ensured that the tax dollars are available for use by those in our County that truly need our support. For that, we are extremely thankful,” said Chemung County Commissioner of Human Services, Jennifer Stimson.

The Special Investigations Unit is comprised of both County and Elmira Police Department personnel which officials say has led to countless arrests and greater cost savings to the county. The Special Investigations Unit is responsible for receiving referrals and/or complaints of benefit fraud and investigating every referral. Types of benefits include Temporary Assistance, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Medical Assistance and Day Care. For the period from 2013-2017, the average cost saving per calendar year is $4.2 million.

For the past ten years, DSS has contracted with the EPD for one full-time police investigator. Due to its success, DSS expanded the contract to include the two additional part-time officers in 2016.  The data below shows the increase in the savings achieved by our Community due to the prevention of public funds distributed to those that do not have a demonstrated need.  

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By conducting field visits, the Special Investigations Unit is able to verify items such as applicants’ address and household composition, officials say.

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Cost Avoidance indicates the amount of benefits that were either discontinued or decreased as a result of actions taken by the Special Investigations Unit.   For the period of 2013-2017, the average cost saving per calendar year is $4.2 Million.  Based on the first six months of 2018, the Special Investigation Unit cost avoidance is trending at $5.57 Million.  

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“Our partnership with the City of Elmira Police Department through their experience in many of the investigation referral areas has been a significant enhancement to the program and has driven exceptional results.  We look forward to maintaining this relationship moving forward,” noted Deputy County Executive Mike Krusen.  

 

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