Procedures for Determining Welfare Recipients' Eligibility and Payment in the District of Columbia

GGD-77-51: Published: Apr 20, 1977. Publicly Released: Apr 20, 1977.

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The procedures used to determine eligibility and payment of welfare recipients by the District of Columbia Department of Human Resources were reviewed in an effort to determine their effectiveness in identifying errors and reducing welfare costs. The review concentrated on the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. This program had an average monthly caseload of 31,400 during 1976, with total annual payments of $94 million. Errors in the District's program caseload have persisted and have become progressively worse. The ineligible error rate rose from 5 percent in 1970 to 13 percent in 1975. During this same period, the overpayment error rate increased from 17 percent to 25 percent and the underpayment error rate decreased from 11 percent to 6 percent. The Department of Human Resources has not met Department of Health, Education, and Welfare requirements that each AFDC case be recertified for eligibility and correctness of payment every 6 months. Staffing limitations have resulted in only about 20% of the cases being recertified annually. It is therefore very important that the caseworkers review only those cases that are most likely to be in error. Three alternative systems for identifying potential error cases for review are: a high overpayment system which is designed to identify cases that are overpaid by $100 a month or more; an overpayment system that would identify cases that are overpaid regardless of the amount; and an ineligible system designed to identify cases that are ineligible. The District of Columbia is developing a plan for implementing the high overpayment system on May 1, 1977.

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