Clouds over the Empire State Plaza
February 1, 2024

Office of The Welfare Inspector General Releases 2023 Annual Report

Office of The Welfare Inspector General Releases 2023 Annual Report

Today New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang released the 2023 Annual Report of the Office of the Welfare Inspector General (OWIG), detailing notable matters handled over the past year and summarizing the office’s extensive efforts to combat fraud and abuse in New York State’s public assistance programs. 

In 2023, OWIG received complaints from nearly every county in the state, resulting in a review of over 1,000 allegations of public assistance fraud or misconduct by local social services districts, the arrests and prosecution of numerous individuals, and the identification of over $1.3 million dollars in fraud or improperly obtained social service benefits. Additionally, approximately $17,281 in improper benefit payments were identified and recouped by local social services districts as a result of referrals made by OWIG, and over $1 million in forfeiture and restitution to the state was ordered.

OWIG partnered extensively with county, state, and federal partners to address certain trends, patterns and vulnerabilities in the public assistance system, including, most critically, the theft and trafficking of SNAP benefits intended for vulnerable populations and the theft of unemployment benefits through identity theft. OWIG also continued to assist local social services districts in fighting public assistance fraud by providing training, equipment, counsel, and staff to internal units within each social services district that are responsible for investigating fraud and abuse.

“The OWIG Annual Report is itself an accountability tool to show the public that we are working hard to ensure the integrity of social welfare programs, and thereby fostering trust in government,” said New York State Inspector General Lang. “By shining a light on the fraud, theft, and gaps in the system that our oversight uncovers, we want New Yorkers to know that the Office of the Welfare Inspector General is safeguarding these precious resources meant for those truly in need.”

"My mom's food money was disappearing from her EBT Card and I didn’t know what to do,” said Melanie, a caregiver for her elderly mother. “I had no idea this kind of fraud was possible, let alone so widespread. It’s important for people to know that agencies like the Welfare Inspector General exist to help make sure this fraud doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

For the full report click here or visit

For more updates on the OIG’s work please follow us on social media, @NewYorkStateIG on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can also report allegations and complaints of welfare and social services fraud, abuse, misconduct, and waste by calling our hotline at 1-800-DO-RIGHT, online at, or direct messaging us on social media.