THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
Indirect Costs for the Connecticut
Disability Determination Services
for the Period July 1, 2003
through June 30, 2005
By conducting independent and objective audits, evaluations and investigations, we inspire public confidence in the integrity and security of SSA's programs and operations and protect them against fraud, waste and abuse. We provide timely, useful and reliable information and advice to Administration officials, Congress and the public.
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Conduct and supervise independent and objective audits and investigations
relating to agency programs and operations.
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Date: September 28, 2007
To: Manuel J. Vaz
Regional Commissioner Boston
From: Inspector General
Subject: Follow-up Audit: Indirect Costs for the Connecticut Disability Determination Services for the Period July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2005 (A-15-07-16034)
The objective of our review was to determine the status of the corrective actions
that the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services (CT-DSS) has taken
address the recommendations in our previous report entitled, Indirect Costs Claimed by the Connecticut Disability Determination Services (A-15-03-23041) issued September 7, 2004.
Disability determinations under the Social Security Administration's (SSA)
Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs are required
to be performed by Disability Determination Services (DDS) in each State according
to Federal law and underlying regulations. In carrying out its obligation, each
DDS is responsible for determining claimants' disabilities and ensuring that
adequate evidence is available to support its determinations. SSA reimburses
the DDS for 100 percent of the allowable expenditures reported quarterly on
Form SSA-4513, entitled State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability
Programs up to its approved funding authorization. The expenditures include
both direct and indirect costs.
SSA requested that we determine the status of the corrective actions the CT-DSS has taken to address the recommendations in our prior report Indirect Costs Claimed by the Connecticut Disability Determination Services (A-15-03-23041). The specific recommendations were as follows:
1. Return $287,442 of unallowable indirect costs associated with the 2nd and 3rd quarters of Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2003.
2. Ensure that the indirect costs for the 4th quarter of FFY 2003 indirect costs exclude costs for the Department of Administrative Services - Bureau of Collection Services (DAS-BCS) and the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General (CT-OAG).
3. Ensure that State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2004 Cost Allocation Plan distributes statewide central service costs to the CT-DDS according to the relative benefits received in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-87.
4. Request the Department of Health and Human Services - Division of Cost Allocation (DHHS-DCA) audit the reasonableness of the proposed SFY 2004 Cost Allocation Plan statewide allocation methodology taking into account the issues discussed in this report. (If DHHS-DCA has already approved the SFY 2004 Statewide Allocation Plan, SSA should request the DHHS-DCA revisit the statewide central service costs to ensure that the CT-DDS receives some relative benefit from these costs and amend the plan as needed.)
In addition, SSA requested that we determine the allowable indirect costs for the CT-DDS for the period July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2005 (SFYs 2004 and 2005).
RESULTS OF REVIEW
The CT-DSS has taken corrective action to address the four recommendations
in our prior report. A description of the SSA's Office of the Inspector General
(OIG) prior recommendations and the CT-DSS corrective actions taken are as follows:
Recommendation #1 -- Instruct the CT-DDS to return $287,442 of unallowable indirect costs associated with the 2nd and 3rd quarters of FFY 2003.
In January 2005, CT-DSS paid the $287,442 of unallowable indirect costs identified in the prior audit report associated with the 2nd and 3rd quarters of FFY 2003 as shown below.
Description Quarter Ending
March 31, 2003 Quarter Ending
June 30, 2003 Total
Statewide Cost Allocation Plan (SWCAP) (Estimated)
OIG Recommended SWCAP 96,310 85,650 181,960
Total - Unallowable Costs $142,355
Recommendation #2 -- Instruct the CT-DDS to ensure that the indirect costs for the 4th quarter of FFY 2003 exclude costs for the DAS-BCS and the CT-OAG.
We verified that the CT-DSS has excluded the DAS-BCS and credited the CT-OAG costs associated with the Quarter Ending (QE) September 30, 2003 (4th quarter FFY 2003). The CT-DSS returned $45,811 as follows.
September 30, 2003
DAS-BCS Refund $64,765
Less: Offset (51,768)
Net DAS-BCS Refund $12,997
CT-OAG Credit 32,814
The Public Assistance Cost Allocation Plan (PACAP) describes how costs are
allocated from the Department of Social Services to its components. The CT-DSS
updated its PACAP to exclude 100 percent of the DAS-BCS costs allocated to the
DDS. In December 2006, the CT-DSS reduced the SSA-4513, entitled State Agency
Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs to reflect the exclusion of
the DAS-BCS costs as shown above.
In response to recommendation #1, CT-DSS returned disallowed funds of $287,442. However, CT-DSS later appealed this decision and requested SSA reduce the amount disallowed to $235,674-a difference of $51,768. The original $287,442 amount was calculated using an estimated SWCAP. In the appeal, CT-DSS provided additional documentation that it had lowered the SWCAP amount on the final SSA-4513, entitled State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs and that the State made appropriate funding adjustments to reflect the lower final SWCAP. Thus, CT-DSS was entitled to a recalculation based on the final SWCAP. On April 10, 2006, SSA approved the $51,768 offset to the indirect cost disallowance (as shown in Table 2). Therefore, the CT-DSS appropriately offset our recommended disallowance of 4th quarter FFY 2003 costs by $51,768.
CONNECTICUT OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CREDIT
The SWCAP allocates central service costs to the various bureaus and departments
of the State of Connecticut. The State of Connecticut determined that a large
portion of the CT-OAG costs should be a direct charge to the Child Support and
Establishment of Paternity (Enforcement), Title IV-D program. The State Comptroller's
Office prospectively credited the CT-OAG costs in the SWCAP for the Title IV-D
program, in accordance with OMB's Circular A 87. The Circular states in part
when the actual costs of the year involved become known, the differences
between the fixed amounts previously approved and the actual costs will be carried
forward and used as an adjustment to the fixed amounts established for a later
year." Therefore, the SFY 2004 CT-OAG costs (associated with the Title
IV-D program) were credited to the SFY 2006 SWCAP, and likewise the SFY 2005
CT-OAG costs were credited to the SFY 2007 SWCAP.
Recommendation #3 -- Instruct the CT-DDS to ensure that the SFYs 2004 and 2005 Cost Allocation Plans were distributing costs to the CT-DDS based on relative benefits received in accordance with OMB Circular A-87.
We verified that the CT-DSS excluded DAS-BCS and credited the CT-OAG costs out of the indirect cost allocations for SFYs 2004 and 2005. In addition, we verified that the allocation methodology was corrected in July 2005. We found that the CT-DSS distributed costs to the CT-DDS based on relative benefits received in accordance with OMB Circular A-87. The CT-DSS returned $566,552 as follows.
December 31, 2003 QE
March 31, 2004 QE
June 30, 2004 QE
September 30, 2004 Total
DAS-BCS Refund $95,328 $73,071 $54,089 $68,254 $290,742
OAG Credit 32,978 31,870 31,124 27,358 123,330
December 31, 2004 QE
March 31, 2005 QE
June 30, 2005 QE
September 30, 2005 Total
DAS-BCS Refund $55,030 $54,253 $(40,718) $0 68,565
OAG Credit 28,253 27,831 27,831 0 83,915
($12,887) $0 $152,480
Total Both Years $566,552
Recommendation # 4 -- Instruct the CT-DDS to request that DHHS-DCA audit the reasonableness of the proposed SFY 2004 Cost Allocation Plan statewide allocation methodology taking into account the issues discussed in our prior report.
The CT-DSS revised its PACAP to incorporate the changes we recommended and
submitted the SFY 2006 PACAP to DHHS-DCA to be audited. As a result of the updates
to the PACAP and SWCAP, effective July 1, 2005, the DAS-BCS and CT-OAG costs
(associated with the Title IV-D program) were no longer allocated to the DDS.
On July 7, 2005, the DHHS-DCA acknowledged receipt of the proposed revisions
to the PACAP. On August 16, 2006, DHHS-DCA approved the PACAP, effective
July 1, 2005.
New Indirect Cost Issues
Our follow-up audit efforts identified two new issues regarding the CT-OAG and Cater Eligibility Management System (Cater EMS) indirect costs as shown below:
We found that the updated 2006 PACAP description of the allocation base for CT OAG costs was incomplete. Currently the description states that the CT-OAG costs are a direct charge to the Child Support Program. Our audit determined that not all the CT-OAG costs are associated with the Child Support Program and that CT-DSS correctly received an allocation of the residual CT-OAG costs. The residual CT-OAG costs are for services such as contract review, representation of employees for grievances, legal opinions, etc. We determined that the CT-DDS benefits from these types of costs. However, the PACAP did not identify the residual CT-OAG costs. Therefore, the description in the PACAP should be updated to include language that there is a residual CT-OAG cost allocation to the components of the Department of Social Services.
Cater Eligibility Management System (Cater EMS)
The Cater EMS indirect expense account accumulates costs for a database which contains client information such as name, address, income, etc. used to determine eligibility for State programs. There were no Cater EMS indirect costs allocated to the DDS in FFY 2004. However, in FFY 2005 and 2006, we found that $412,986 in indirect costs for Cater EMS were allocated to the CT-DDS due to an error in the automated allocation system. The Department of Social Services corrected this erroneous allocation effective July 1, 2006. Therefore, we questioned $412,986 Cater EMS indirect costs allocated to the DDS for FFYs 2005 and 2006 as follows.
December 31, 2004 QE
March 31, 2005 QE
June 30, 2005 QE
September 30, 2005
Cater EMS $89,336 $15,503 $71,918 $39,901 $216,658
December 31, 2005 QE
March 31, 2006 QE
June 30, 2006 QE
September 30, 2006
Cater EMS $76,429 $56,300 $63,599 $0 $196,328
Total Both Years $412,986
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
We found that the CT-DSS has taken corrective actions to address the recommendations in our previous report, Indirect Costs Claimed by the Connecticut Disability Determination Services (A-15-03-23041) and no further action is required on our four prior recommendations.
During our follow-up audit, we identified two issues requiring CT-DSS action. Specifically, we recommend SSA instruct the CT-DSS to:
1. Revise its PACAP to incorporate a description of the residual OAG costs and explain how the CT-OAG costs are allocated to its components, which includes the DDS.
2. Return $412,986 of indirect costs associated with SFYs 2005 and 2006 for the Cater EMS expenses for which the DDS received no benefit.
SSA agreed with our recommendations. See Appendix C for the full text of the Agency's comments.
STATE AGENCY COMMENTS
The CT-DSS agreed with our recommendations, and provided additional information related to the adjustments. See Appendix D for the CT-DSS' comments.
We are pleased that the CT-DSS agreed with our recommendations. However, final adjustments will need to be negotiated between SSA's Regional Office and the CT-DSS.
To clarify, we provided the CT-DSS notification, via e-mail, of the two items that would be included in our final report. The audit report, consistent with auditing standards, is the mechanism by which we make our recommendations and request your comments.
Any adjustments resulting from our recommendations and your planned corrections will be included in the scope of our current audit of the 2005 and 2006 administrative costs claimed by the CT-DDS (A-15-07-27176).
Patrick P. O'Carroll, Jr.
APPENDIX A - Acronyms
APPENDIX B - Scope and Methodology
APPENDIX C - Agency Comments
APPENDIX D - State Agency Comments
APPENDIX E - OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
CT-DDS Connecticut Disability Determination Services
CT-DSS Connecticut Department of Social Services
CT-OAG Connecticut Office of Attorney General (State Central Services)
DAS-BCS Department of Administrative Services; Bureau of Collection Services
DDS Disability Determination Services
DHHS Department of Health and Human Services
DHHS-DCA Department of Health and Human Services-Division of Cost Allocation
EMS Eligibility Management System
FFY Federal Fiscal Year (October 1 through September 30)
OIG Office of the Inspector General
OMB Office of Management and Budget
PACAP Public Assistance Cost Allocation Plan
QE Quarter Ending
SFY State Fiscal Year (July 1 through June 30)
SSA Social Security Administration
SWCAP Statewide Cost Allocation Plan
U.S.C. United States Code
Scope and Methodology
The Social Security Administration (SSA) requested this audit in response to our prior audit Indirect Costs Claimed by the Connecticut Disability Determination Services (A 15-03-23041) issued September 7, 2004. Specifically, SSA requested we determine the status of the corrective action taken for the prior recommendations for the period July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2005. To complete our objectives, we:
Reviewed Office of Management and Budget Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments, SSA's Program Operations Manual System DI 39500 DDS Fiscal and Administrative Management, and other instructions pertaining to administrative costs incurred by Connecticut Disability Determination Services (CT-DDS).
Reviewed the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2004 and 2005 Statewide single audits for the State of Connecticut.
Reviewed three prior SSA Office of the Inspector General reports as follows:
Follow-Up Review on Potential Indirect Cost Rate Increases at Connecticut Disability Determination Services (A-15-03-23041) dated September 7, 2004,
Audit of the Administrative Costs Claimed by the Connecticut Disability Determination Services (A-15-00-30016), dated September 17, 2001, and
Limited Review of Connecticut Disability Determination Services' Lease Costs (A-15-02-22040), dated October 3, 2002.
Interviewed staff at the Connecticut Department of Social Services, State Comptrollers Office, State Auditors, SSA Regional Office, and Department of Health and Human Services - Division of Cost Allocation.
Reviewed the computation of the indirect costs charged to the CT-DDS for State Fiscal Years (SFY) 2004 and 2005. The specific audit steps performed consisted of the following:
Obtained an understanding of the Connecticut Statewide Cost Allocation Plan (SWCAP) and the CT-DSS Public Assistance Cost Allocation Plan (PACAP).
Obtained an understanding of the Maxcars automated cost allocation software used to allocate the PACAP.
Determined how indirect costs were allocated.
Determined if the indirect cost allocation was consistent with the approved Cost Allocation Plan.
Determined if the allocation method fairly and accurately allocated expenses to all benefiting agencies.
Reconciled the accounting records to the CT-DDS indirect costs reported on Form SSA-4513, entitled State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs.
Reconciled costs allocated from the State Central Services (through the SWCAP) to the Department of Social Services.
Verified the SWCAP calculation for the removal of SFY 2004 and 2005 Title IV-D program costs from the Office of Attorney General allocation, and the corresponding credit to the SFY 2006 and 2007 SWCAP.
Verified the PACAP calculation for the removal of SFY 2004 and 2005 Department of Administrative Services-Bureau of Collection Services from the DDS allocation.
Reviewed 100 percent of the costs allocated and the allocation bases for the State Central Services to determine whether the DDS benefits from the services.
Selected a sample of 4 high dollar indirect costs charged to the DDS, to ensure that the DDS benefited from the services.
We did not perform substantive testing to determine the allowability and accuracy of the indirect costs allocated by the CT-Department of Social Services for FFYs 2005 and 2006. We will perform the substantive testing during our audit of the Administrative Costs Claimed by the Connecticut Disability Determination Services (A-15-07-27176).
We determined that the computerized data used during our review was sufficiently
reliable given our audit objective and intended use of the data and should not
lead to incorrect or unintended conclusions. This audit was conducted in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. Our audit was performed
from February 2007 through June 2007. We performed our audit work at the CT-Department
of Social Services in Hartford, Connecticut.
Date: September 14, 2007
To: Patrick P. O'Carroll, Jr.
From: Manuel J. Vaz
Regional Commissioner Boston
Subject: Follow-up Audit: Indirect Costs for the Connecticut Disability Determination Services (DDS) for the Period July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2005 (A-15-07-16034) - (Your Memo, 8/9/07) - REPLY
We have reviewed the draft report and per your request, provide the following comments on each recommendation. Overall, we concur with the draft report.
Recommendation #1 - Instruct the CT DSS to revise its PACAP to incorporate
a description of the residual OAG costs and explain how the CT-OAG costs are
allocated to its components, which includes the DDS.
Our impression from the first audit was that all CT-OAG costs (associated with Title IV-D program) were disallowed from the PACAP. Based on this audit, a finding has been made that the 2006 PACAP has some CT-OAG services which the DDS does in fact receive. The audit asks for a description of these 'residual costs' and the allocation method. We concur that this detailed information is needed, so we can verify that the services are received and that the allocation of the costs to the DDS is fair and reasonable. We would like to know the specific services being purchased, the basis on which billing will be made, and have a stipulation that the billing will only be for the services received.
Recommendation #2 - The CT DSS should return $412,986 of indirect costs associated
with SFYs 2005 and 2006 for the Cater EMS expenses for which the DDS received
Since the DDS does not use the Cater EMS system, we concur that the $412,986 costs allocated for these services in FFY 2005 and 2006 should be totally refunded.
We are encouraged to see the agency address indirect costs, which have become a major operating cost for all DDSs. We appreciate the auditors due diligence in finding even more monetary findings related to indirect costs in the state of Connecticut. The complexity of indirect cost allocation plans and the changing costs and allocation methods combine to make this a very challenging area, as is evidenced by this one state's multiple monetary findings.
cc: Ruby Burrell, AC, ODD
Theresa Washington, DCBFM, ALMS
State Agency Comments
OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
Victoria Vetter, Director, Financial Audit Division, (410) 966-9081
Mark Meehan, Acting Audit Manager, (410) 966-7147
In addition to those named above:
Florence Wolford, Auditor-in-Charge
Annette DeRito, Writer-Editor
For additional copies of this report, please visit our web site at www.ssa.gov/oig or contact the Office of the Inspector General's Public Affairs Specialist at (410) 965-3218. Refer to Common Identification Number A-15-07-16034.
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The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is comprised of our Office of Investigations (OI), Office of Audit (OA), Office of the Chief Counsel to the Inspector General (OCCIG), and Office of Resource Management (ORM). To ensure compliance with policies and procedures, internal controls, and professional standards, we also have a comprehensive Professional Responsibility and Quality Assurance program.
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