Friday, January 10, 2014


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County DSS office goofs, sends applicant 30 people’s social security numbers

GOSHEN – The Orange County Social Services Office apparently fouled up big-time when an applicant for HEAP heating assistance received in the mail a list of some 30 welfare applicants complete with their Social Security numbers and other very personal information.

The department wrote in response to a request for comment by “We are aware that confidential information was inadvertently released. At the current time we are conducting a comprehensive top-to-bottom review of our policies and procedures to ensure the continued integrity of personal information held by the department.”

Joseph Ventimiglia had applied for the heating grant, but was turned down. He asked for his file so he could appeal the decision. When it came in the mail, it contained all of the other people’s personal information.

“I know if you applied for benefits, if you were denied. I know your immigration status and I really didn’t want to read it all so once I saw the first two, and realized what I had here, I put it away,” he told

Ventimiglia said the county DSS needs to get its act together.

“As I have been saying for a long time, Orange County Social Services needs to pull it together because I am not the only one in this situation,” he said.

There is no excuse for what happened, Ventimiglia said.

“We are talking about people’s private information and we are talking about very private information. I can pick up the phone right now and call any one of these people and let them know that I have their file in my hand,” he told

Ventimiglia is hopeful his application for the one-shot heating aid will be reviewed and approved when he appeals the initial rejection.