Computer Matching Act:

Many States Did Not Comply With 30-Day Notice or Data-Verification Provisions

HRD-91-39: Published: Feb 8, 1991. Publicly Released: Feb 8, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated states' implementation of provisions of the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act (CMPPA) of 1988, focusing on CMPPA notice and data verification provisions for three state-administered welfare programs.

GAO found that: (1) as of June 1990, more than half of the states had implemented the CMPPA 30-day notice for denial or termination of benefits and data verification provisions, but believed that the provisions would be costly and hoped that Congress would amend them; (2) except for the District of Columbia, states that had implemented the provision had minimum benefit denial or termination notice periods ranging from 30 to 40 days, although the time that usually elapsed before states took adverse actions ranged from 30 to 60 days; (3) in their computer matching programs, most of the states used Social Security Administration (SSA) benefit data for determining eligibility and payment amounts under the three programs; (4) half of the states that used the computer matching programs independently verified only some of the SSA data, even though CMPPA required states to verify all data received from a federal agency before adjusting benefits; (5) about 74 percent of the states indicated that the CMPPA 30-day notice provision did not conflict with any state laws or regulations; (6) most states citing conflicts said that their state laws or regulations required a 10-day notice period; (7) 26 states' cost estimates for implementing CMPPA 30-day notice provisions ranged from $20,000 to $10.4 million; and (8) the methodologies that individual states used to develop their estimates varied substantially, and many estimates were inadequately supported.

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