Human Resources

Principal Social Services Investigator



DISTINGUISHING FEATURES OF THE CLASS: This position involves supervising and reviewing the work of Social Service Investigators conducting investigations of individual social services clients and/or vendors in connection with payments to social services recipients and social services fraud, and for coordinating fraud prevention activities.  There is research and investigatory work of a specialized character involving the application of appropriate methods and procedures in the investigation of fraud, or alleged fraud perpetrated by public assistance recipients, applicants for relief, vendors and beneficiaries of public services.  It includes field work, considerable interaction with other agencies and the general public, and extensive documentation of activities.  The incumbent may supervise other eligibility programs and provide training to other staff.  The incumbent is responsible for various reports and plans to be submitted to State and Federal oversight agencies on a regular basis.  The work is carried out under the administrative supervision of the Director of Financial Programs.  Duties allow incumbents considerable leeway in the exercise of duties.  Does related work, as required.


Supervises and oversees the investigations unit staff, including distribution and assignment of tasks, consultation regarding ongoing cases, review/approval of staff recommendations for case action, completing performance evaluations, approving leave time, recommending hiring and disciplinary actions, and provides ongoing direction and training of staff.

Maintains cooperative relationships with other units and sections of the agency; assists other agency units in obtaining information using available resources; may be responsible to provide oversight/supervision to various temporary assistance units within the Department; provides appropriate training to staff in other units, as requested.

Interprets federal, state and local policy and programs as they relate to financial eligibility and case circumstances; recommends policy and procedural changes to promote program administration; prepares and submits various reports to State entities on a monthly, quarterly or requested basis; submits new or updated State plans as necessary.

Interviews public assistance recipients and applicants and their relatives, friends, employers and others to obtain information and gather evidence concerning possible violation of public assistance laws and regulations;

Recommends arrest and prosecution of violators of public assistance laws and regulations, working closely with law enforcement agencies, lawyers, hearing officers, and agency supervisors/administrators; appears in various courts as necessary;

Contacts banks, insurance companies and other financial organizations to determine available assets and funds of applicants and recipients in cases where alleged fraud is suspected; performs internet searches on a variety of official state/national databases.

Secures and interprets evidence in the form of statements, documents, records and exhibits; contacts and interviews all parties thought to possess information on cases under investigation; makes e-mail and phone contacts.

Makes field visits to obtain evidence or information, and performs surveillance of individuals’ activities within or outside of the community.  Verifies information by checking with local, state and federal law enforcement authorities.

Writes detailed reports on all activities;  attends training and meetings as required.

The above examples of duties are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work performed.  The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment to the position.

FULL PERFORMANCE KNOWLEDGES, SKILLS, ABILITIES AND/OR PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS: Good knowledge of modern investigative techniques used in determining the financial status of individuals; good knowledge of federal and state public assistance laws and other pertinent laws necessary to determine the existence of fraudulent practices; ability to analyze and evaluate information and evidence; ability to obtain information through interview and observation; ability to deal firmly but courteously with the public; ability to prepare written reports and use a computer; ability to communicate and deal effectively with others; ability to make sound judgments; tact; initiative and resourcefulness; emotional maturity; leadership; good knowledge of modern principles of supervision; ability to plan, coordinate, manage, evaluate and supervise the work of others; physical condition commensurate with the demands of the position.

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. 

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit, use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; and reach with hands and arms.  The employee is required to walk, talk and hear.

The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.  Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision and the ability to adjust focus.

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Graduation from high school or possession of an appropriate equivalency diploma recognized by the NYS Department of Education, AND:

A.   Graduation from a regionally accredited NYS registered college or university with a Bachelor’s degree or Associate’s degree AND five (5) years full-time permanent, competitive status as a Social Services Investigator with Genesee County Department of Social Services.  Employment in the Social Services Investigator position must be immediately prior to, and continue through the period leading to appointment.


B.        Any equivalent combination of training and experience as defined by the limits of (A) above.


Possession of a valid NYS Driver’s license.

Competitive Class