Child Care Subsidy: Improper Payments Error Rate Process

The Improper Payments process is a federally mandated review of randomly selected child care subsidy cases that occurs every three years.  A total of 276 cases (23 each month) are reviewed by Office of Inspector General auditors to determine if an improper payment occurred during the pull month.  The auditors review the most recent application or renewal prior to the pull month to determine if a payment error occurred.  The review is a desk audit which means no external contacts are made to verify the accuracy of the information in the case file.

The most recent Improper Payments Error Rate Review Process for Federal Fiscal Year 2019 is now complete.  See audit results in the table below:

Audit Results

Audit Result
Number of cases sampled 276
Total number of cases with an Improper Payment 38
Percentage of cases with an Improper Payment 13.77%

There were 7 error types for the 38 cases that resulted in improper payments as shown in the table below. Staff responsible for processing child care subsidy cases should review the Quest training for each of the error types. A back-to-basics training should also be conducted to cover the most common error types.

Error Types Resulting in Improper Payments

Cause Number of Cases Example Suggested Training
Income calculation 13 The eligibility worker did not consider commission or bonuses that were received on a regular basis. Income – Earned Income Handling | Quest

Key Elements of Pay Stubs | Quest

Incorrect coding of authorizations 14 The eligibility worker coded school age children with a full time rate instead of a blended rate.

REMEMBER: Due to Covid-19, all children who are normally eligible for a blended rate are currently coded with a weekly rate.

Unit Types | Quest

Unit Type Examples | Quest

Appendix C-4-C

Missing documentation of need 5 The worker did not document how the parent’s work schedule was verified. Work Schedule Tip | Quest
Child support requirement not met 2 The eligibility worker approved care for a family that was not cooperating with OKDHS Child Support Services. N/A – cooperation with child support removed from policy in March 2020 per Director Brown’s memo.
Missing documentation of income 2 There were no paystubs or other documentation to justify the eligibility worker’s income calculation. Income Verification Sources | Quest
Ineligible provider 1 The eligibility worker approved a client at the child care home where she was employed. Choice of Provider – Which Providers Can the Client Choose? | Quest
Incorrect household size 1 The eligibility worker left one of the siblings not included in the child care benefit off of the case. Household Size | Quest

Household Composition & Income Consideration | Quest

Household Examples & Coding | Quest

At this point, there are no financial penalties to states for error rates established via the Improper Payments process.  However, that may change with continued focus on program integrity at the federal level.  As always, accuracy should remain a top priority when processing child care subsidy cases.  This ensures families receive the benefits they are entitled to and providers are paid correctly.

Effective immediately, the Child Care Subsidy unit will resume monthly audits as specified in our action plan with the feds to address the findings of the Improper Payments process.  Twenty-three cases per month with certifications in the prior month will be reviewed to identify error trends and training needs.  County staff will be notified of any errors that need to be corrected to prevent ongoing overpayments.

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