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99 of 100 California Department of Social Services Refugee Cash Assistance Payments Received Were Allowable

Why OIG Did This Review

The Refugee Act of 1980 created the Refugee Resettlement Program (RRP) to provide for the effective resettlement of refugees and to assist them in achieving economic self-sufficiency after arriving in the United States. The Act provides Federal grants to States for cash and medical assistance, social services, and targeted assistance to help qualified refugees. Within HHS, the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) runs the RRP program. In 2015 and 2016, ORR obligated $286 million and $417 million, respectively, to States for the RRP.

We selected for audit the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) because previous ORR monitoring reports identified errors. CDSS serves, aids, and protects needy children and adults to strengthen families, encourage personal responsibility, and foster independence. CDSS's RRP is a State-supervised, county-administered program.

Our objective was to determine whether CDSS's refugee cash assistance (RCA) payments to beneficiaries were allowable in accordance with Federal and State regulations.

How OIG Did This Review

Our audit covered 35,189 RCA payments totaling almost $13 million CDSS made to beneficiaries from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2017 (audit period). From these payments, we selected a stratified random sample of 100 RCA payments totaling $34,700 for review.

What OIG Found

California's RCA payments to beneficiaries were generally allowable in accordance with Federal and State regulations. Of the 100 RCA payments totaling $34,700 in our sample, 99 were correct. For the remaining one RCA payment, California made an overpayment totaling $350.

This overpayment occurred because California did not ensure that the eligibility worker terminated RCA benefits upon receipt of the system notification.

What OIG Recommends and CDSS Response

We recommend that California refund $350 to the Federal Government.

In response to our draft report, California agreed with our recommendation and discussed actions it will take to refund the overpayment to the Federal Government.

Filed under: Administration for Children and Families