Duplicate Payments to AFDC Recipients in Pennsylvania

HRD-79-2: Published: Oct 20, 1978. Publicly Released: Feb 19, 1982.

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Allegations were made that some Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program recipients in Pennsylvania were obtaining duplicate benefit payments by improperly claiming nonreceipt of original benefit checks, requesting and obtaining replacement checks, and then cashing both checks. Two systems are currently used in Pennsylvania to reduce the incidence of duplicate AFDC payments through issuance of replacement checks: the post office box system--in which checks are sent to a post office box and recipients must appear, properly identify themselves, and sign a receipt--and the direct delivery system--in which checks are sent to participating banks where recipients must appear, identify themselves, and sign a receipt. Chester and Lancaster Counties are taking action to reduce the incidence of duplicate payments through adopting the post office box and direct delivery systems, but replacement checks are still issued to recipients who receive the checks by mail. A review of selected AFDC cases in Chester and Lancaster Counties showed that investigations by the State Treasury Department occurred long after replacement checks were issued. Regardless of the amount involved in individual cases, little collection of duplicate payments is occurring. Collection letters are not being sent to all debtors on the manually operated claims system, and many letters sent to debtors on the automated claims system have been returned because of incorrect addresses. There are few, if any, duplicate payment cases pending prosecution. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare should require monitoring of Pennsylvania's activities in the area of duplicate payment recoupment and should provide the necessary technical assistance for improvement actions.

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