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Highlights

The Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program was examined regarding program policies, management characteristics, and operational procedures in six States and several of their local welfare agencies to identify areas in need of further audit or analysis. One of the issues concerning assistance payments was identified as warranting immediate attention. Pursuant to payment policies believed to be inconsistent with Federal regulations, the States of New York and Massachusetts are making advance payments to AFDC recipients and are obtaining 50 percent Federal participation. During 1978 these payments amounted to about $6 million in New York and about $33.6 million in Massachusetts. Of this, an undeterminable amount of the $6 million and about $1.4 million of the $33.6 million are overpayments, which may not be recouped. Federal regulations require that a State plan must specify a statewide standard, expressed in dollar amounts, to be used in determining the: (1) need of applicants and recipients; and (2) amount of the assistance payment. The most recent data available indicated that 22 States, including New York and Massachusetts, provided payments that along with any recipient income, equal 100 percent of the need standard for all recipients. Federal participation in the assistance payment is available on the basis that any recipient income plus the monthly payment does not exceed the need standard. The regulations further provide for Federal participation in the monthly AFDC grant only if the recipient was eligible on the date aid was paid.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services 1. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) should disallow claims for Federal participation in advance payments and initiate appropriate efforts to recover the Federal share of any outstanding advance payments.
Closed - Not Implemented
The Department of Health and Human Services has reviewed the matter and has decided that, based on a review of Federal law and regulation and New York's State program plan, the payment is eligible for Federal participation.
Department of Health and Human Services 2. The Secretary of HEW should revoke the prior approval of the quarterly advance payment policy and limit Federal participation to payments for those months in each quarter that each recipient was eligible.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Health and Human Services 3. The Secretary of HEW should require the Social Security Administration to review all State AFDC plans and regulations to see whether their payment policies are consistent with the Code of Federal Regulations.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Health and Human Services 4. The Secretary of HEW should require the Social Security Administration to establish a mechanism within the administration to ensure that changes are made to those State plans with payment policies that are not consistent with the Code of Federal Regulations.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

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