Sullivan legislators mark DFS arrests; new direction for county announced
Legislators Kitty Vetter, left, Cindy Gieger, Cora Edwards and Gene Benson hold a press conference outside the Travis Building in Liberty, which houses the Department of Family Services, regarding recent arrests.
Legislator Cora Edwards said Sullivan County is in a transition period. She said “we’re transitioning from being a benefits destination to being a resort destination as it should be. And we only have a short amount of time to make this transition and to be able to train people for good paying jobs and a diversified economy.”
Legislators Kitty Vetter and Gene Benson also lent their support to the effort to bring reforms to DFS. Gieger said the reforms also had the support of legislator Alan Sorensen. With the apparent support from at least five of the nine legislators, Gieger’s reforms have a good chance of being adopted.
The Fraud Investigations Unit has been working diligently to save Sullivan County residents millions that would otherwise be dispersed to individuals who falsely file applications for assistance and neglect to provide support for their children. These are some of the ways in which we are pursuing these cases and the results obtained from them.
• A new Fraud Hotline has been established and Sullivan County residents are being encouraged to report welfare fraud.
• Tips received through calls on the new hotline as well as other venues are actively investigated in a timely manner.
• Investigations have led to 39 arrests for welfare fraud.
• Currently the Fraud Unit is working to recover monies paid to recipients that filed applications fraudulently.
• A total of $36,678 is currently being repaid to the Department of Family Services as a result of the efforts of the Fraud Unit.
• We are actively pursuing individuals neglecting to pay child support arrears.
• Between January 2013 and October 2013, utilizing the Front End Detection Program, a total of 1,175 applications were withdrawn or denied preventing fraud and ultimately saving the County a total of $13,607,700.
• The Eligibility Verification Review Program is designed to randomly review cases, as of the end of October this program has saved the county $2,135,742.