Program Integrity Unit

Welfare Fraud Complaints

FRAUD HOTLINE: 800-388-5365

If you have knowledge of anyone receiving money or services provided by Chautauqua County Department of Health & Human Services and you believe that they are not entitled to the money or services please contact the Fraud Hotline.

The primary responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Service’s Financial Assistance program is to provide both income support and health care support to the social and economically challenged population of Chautauqua County.  Because this government responsibility is needs-based and relies on expenditure of public funds, it is imperative that the agency exercise due diligence in assuring that applicants and recipients provide accurate and factual information when establishing the need for available temporary benefits.  Information such as, household composition, sources of income, available resources, monetary funds, etc. is necessary in order to establish a comprehensive applicant/recipient profile to establish the necessary level of benefit need.   

The program integrity unit (PIU) is charged with protecting public service funds.  The unit investigates complaints received on applicants and recipients of benefits including cash assistance, SNAP, HEAP, Medicaid and child care as well as complaints regarding vendors.  Furthermore, due to fraud, error on the recipient’s part or agency error, the Department is entitled to seek recovery for overpayments of benefits.  The PIU also establishes and monitors the payment for over-issued benefits.

PUI is charged with the responsibility of investigating all referrals where the potential of fraud may exist. Fraud referrals come from several program areas, such as the intake process, the undercare process, the child support program, and various New York State agencies. If you would like to report fraud, please call the NYS Fraud Hotline at 800-388-5365.

In addition to investigating potential program fraud, the PIU also pursues both administrative and/or criminal charges against recipients who commit program violations which are proven intentional.  Penalties can take the form of benefit sanction for a period of time and/or monetary restitution.  

Because public funds come from taxpayer obligations, it is important the agency maintain an oversight effort to guard against fraudulent reporting of living arrangements and/or financial resources and assets.  Program integrity initiatives address that need and are the primary agent for carrying out this critical effort.