THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
Costs Claimed by
the Delaware Disability
We improve SSA programs and operations and protect them against fraud, waste, and abuse by conducting independent and objective audits, evaluations, and investigations. We provide timely, useful, and reliable information and advice to Administration officials, the Congress, and the public.
The Inspector General Act created independent audit and investigative units, called the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The mission of the OIG, as spelled out in the Act, is to:
Conduct and supervise independent and objective audits and investigations
relating to agency programs and operations.
Promote economy, effectiveness, and efficiency within the agency.
Prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse in agency programs and operations.
Review and make recommendations regarding existing and proposed legislation and regulations relating to agency programs and operations.
Keep the agency head and the Congress fully and currently informed of problems in agency programs and operations.
To ensure objectivity, the IG Act empowers the IG with:
Independence to determine what reviews to perform.
Access to all information necessary for the reviews.
Authority to publish findings and recommendations based on the reviews.
By conducting independent and objective audits, investigations, and evaluations,
we are agents of positive change striving for continuous improvement in the
Social Security Administration's programs, operations, and management and in
our own office.
Date: August 19, 2005
To: Laurie Watkins
Regional Commissioner Philadelphia
From: Inspector General
Subject: Administrative Costs Claimed by the Delaware Disability Determination Services (A-13-05-15011)
Our objectives were to (1) evaluate the Delaware Disability Determination Services' (DE-DDS) internal controls over the accounting and reporting of administrative costs, (2) determine whether costs claimed for Federal Fiscal Years (FY) 2001 through 2003 were allowable and properly allocated and funds were properly drawn, and (3) assess the general security controls environment.
Disability Determination Services (DDS) in each State or other responsible jurisdiction perform disability determinations under both the Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. Such determinations are required to be performed in accordance with Federal law and underlying regulations. In carrying out its obligation, each DDS is responsible for determining claimants' disabilities and ensuring adequate evidence is available to support its determinations.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) reimburses the DDS for 100 percent
of allowable program expenditures up to the limit of its funding authority.
The DDS draws Federal funds through the Department of the Treasury's (Treasury)
Automated Standard Application for Payments system in accordance with Federal
regulations and an intergovernmental agreement entered into by Treasury and
the State of Delaware under the Cash Management Improvement Act.
DE-DDS, which is located in New Castle, Delaware, is a component of the Delaware Department of Labor (DE-DOL), Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation accounts for the DE-DDS' disbursements, completes and submits the State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs (Form SSA-4513) to SSA, and prepares requests to transfer cash from Treasury to the State Treasurer. The State's indirect costs for the DE-DDS are determined based on rates negotiated and approved by the Department of Labor. As of July 7, 2004, DE-DDS reported program disbursements and unliquidated obligations on Form SSA 4513, as shown in Table 1. There were no unliquidated obligations for FYs 2001 through 2003. See Appendix B for our Scope and Methodology.
Table 1: DE-DDS Report of Disbursements and Unliquidated Obligations FYs 2001 Through 2003
REPORTING ITEM FY 2001 FY 2002 FY 2003
Personnel $1,665,754 $1,749,575 $1,859,097
Medical 824,597 947,099 892,026
Indirect Costs 397,458 556,270 626,167
Other 893,481 945,216 941,497
Total Disbursements $3,781,290 $4,198,160 $4,318,787
Unliquidated Obligations $0 $0 $0
RESULTS OF REVIEW
Generally, except for indirect costs, DE-DDS had effective internal controls over the accounting and reporting of administrative costs. Also, most costs claimed during our audit period were allowable and properly allocated and funds were properly drawn. Finally, the general security controls we reviewed were effective. However, we identified some discrepancies where action needs to be taken. Discrepancies were found in the indirect and other cost categories.
ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES AND TECHICAL SUPPORT COSTS SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN AN APPROVED ALLOCATION PLAN
During our audit, the basis for allocating DE-DOL administrative services and technical support (AS&T) costs to the DE-DDS had not been formally approved by the Department of Labor. These costs were reported as direct costs on the SSA-4513. The AS&T costs totaled approximately $296,879 for the 3 FYs we audited ($92,224 in FY 2001; $100,228 in FY 2002; and $104,427 in FY 2003).
According to SSA policy, the parent agency's method of charging its indirect costs must be reviewed and approved by the Department of Labor, Office of Cost Determination, or other designated Federal department. The parent agency should identify services that benefit both the SSA disability program and other programs it administers and develop indirect cost proposals to distribute the costs of such services to the programs involved. The parent agency must submit its own indirect cost proposal to recover its own indirect costs. In addition to SSA policy, a cost allocation plan for distributing indirect costs should be prepared in accordance with policies and procedures contained in Office of Management and Budget Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments.
A DE-DOL official provided us with a copy of a departmental-level cost allocation plan for the AS&T costs that were submitted to the Department of Labor for approval in 1995. However, DE-DOL could not provide us a copy of the approved plan. We were provided with a document showing the Department of Labor approved the departmental-level methodology used to allocate the AS&T costs on May 27, 2005.
DE-DDS benefited from the AS&T services. The type of services included in AS&T costs were appropriate for reimbursement and therefore allowable. We recalculated the AS&T costs. Although we were able to recalculate costs using DE-DDS' methodology, the Department of Labor had not approved the methodology when we concluded our audit.
Delaware officials acknowledged the AS&T costs were not included in the
State-wide Indirect Cost Allocation Plan. However, an official of the Department
of Labor, Office of Cost Determination, indicated the AS&T costs were indirect
costs that should have been included in an approved State-wide Indirect Cost
Allocation Plan. We agree and believe the AS&T costs should be reported
as indirect costs on the SSA-4513.
We found unsupported costs of $12,200 (less than 1 percent of the total amount of disbursements)-$11,100 for telephone charges and $1,100 for off-site storage rental fees.
The DE-DDS was unable to provide adequate documentation supporting the basis for the allocation of telephone costs from the parent agency for our audit period.
The DE-DDS used an off-site storage location for the first 5 months of FY 2001. The parent agency allocated storage costs to the DE-DDS based on square footage used.
DE-DDS officials acknowledged there was no documentation to support the monthly charges from the parent agency.
After the June 28, 2005 issuance of our draft report summarizing the results of our audit, DE-DDS provided us support for $11,100 in telephone charges. However, we believe the balance of $1,100 of unsupported costs for off-site storage rental fees remains undocumented.
UNALLOWABLE COSTS AND COMPUTATION ERRORS
During our audit, we found the following:
The lessor charged DE-DDS $1,000 for intermittent weekend energy use. However, the lease states the lessor is responsible for energy use. The lease agreement does not allow the lessor to charge for weekend energy use. Therefore, this cost was unallowable.
The lessor charged $200 for service calls for such things as resetting tripped breakers. The lease states the lessor is responsible for the expenses for building services. Therefore, this was an unallowable cost.
We found six instances where DE-DDS' computation of indirect costs was incorrect. The computation errors resulted in an underpayment of $1,281.
DE-DDS made a $200 overpayment to a medical consultant as a result of a computation error.
As a result of these errors, there was a net overpayment of $119. We discussed these discrepancies with DE-DDS officials. The officials stated they would take corrective action to address unallowable costs and errors.
NONCOMPLIANCE WITH STATE POLICY
Two temporary employees worked for a vendor that had no contract with the State
of Delaware during our audit period. Title 29, chapter 6911, of the Delaware
Code indicates that nonprofessional services shall be procured through State-wide
contracts. The State of Delaware awarded a State-wide contract that listed approved
vendors for the period April 6, 2003 through April 5, 2005. The vendor that
employed these temporary employees was not on the approved vendor list. DE-DDS
staff informed us that the temporary employees were "grandfathered-in"
to the contract. However, there was insufficient documentation to support this
statement. In addition, we found the DE-DDS paid the vendor, not listed in the
contract, about $3.00 an hour more per employee than the maximum allowed under
the State-wide contract.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Generally, except for indirect costs, DE-DDS had effective internal controls
over the accounting and reporting of administrative costs. Also, most costs
claimed during our audit period were allowable and properly allocated and funds
were properly drawn. Finally, the general security controls we reviewed were
effective. However, we identified some discrepancies where action needs to be
We recommend SSA:
1. Instruct the DE-DOL and DE-DDS to include AS&T costs in the State-wide Indirect Cost Allocation Plan and report the AS&T costs as indirect costs on the SSA-4513.
2. Work with DE-DOL and DE-DDS to determine the validity of the unsupported costs of $1,100 and refund any disbursements for which support could not be provided.
3. Instruct the DE-DOL and DE-DDS to provide adequate documentation to support the action to grandfather-in temporary employees.
SSA agreed with our recommendations. In response to Recommendation 1, the Agency stated DE-DOL should amend the State-wide cost allocation plan for the state FY covering the period July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006 to incorporate the AS&T charges. SSA also agreed that the AS&T charges should be reported as indirect costs on the SSA-4513 and will instruct the DE-DDS to reclassify these costs as indirect costs. Regarding Recommendation 2, SSA stated that DE-DOL provided us with the supporting documentation for the telephone charges of $11,100 after we released our draft audit report. This portion of the finding has been resolved. The balance of unsupported costs of $1,100 for off-site storage rental fees remains undocumented and should be refunded to SSA. Concerning Recommendation 3, the Agency recognized that DE-DOL's response did not adequately address the issue. SSA will recommend to DE-DOL to alter the State of Delaware's procurement policy to add appropriate language regarding grandfathering provisions. See Appendix C for the full text of the Agency's comments.
STATE AGENCY COMMENTS
Generally, DE-DOL disagreed with our recommendations. In response to Recommendation 1, DE-DOL stated the AS&T charges complied with Office of Management and Budget Circular A-87 and had been approved by the Department of Labor's Regional Cost Negotiator. Regarding Recommendation 2, DE-DOL stated it provided supporting documentation for the $11,100 in telephone charges. DE-DOL agreed it could not locate supporting documentation for $1,100 in off-site storage bills. Concerning Recommendation 3, DE-DOL stated it provided us documentation in the form of confirmation in writing from the State Procurement Officer. See Appendix D for the full text of DE-DOL's comments.
We remain committed to our recommendations. Concerning Recommendation 1, the Department of Labor's Regional Cost Negotiator informed us that DE-DOL should amend the State-wide cost allocation plan for the State FY covering the period July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006, to incorporate the AS&T charges. We also believe AS&T charges should be reported as indirect costs on the SSA-4513. Regarding Recommendation 2, DE-DDS provided us support for $11,100 in telephone charges on July 20, 2005, after we issued our draft report on June 28, 2005. This additional information resolved a significant amount of the unsupported costs. However, we also believe the balance of unsupported costs of $1,100 for off-site storage rental fees remains undocumented and should be refunded to SSA. Concerning Recommendation 3, the documentation DE-DDS provided to support the action to grandfather-in temporary employees was a January 20, 2005, email message from the State Procurement Officer stating the employees were grandfathered-in. We believe the email message without further documentation is not adequate to support the action to grandfather-in temporary employees. No further information was provided after we made several attempts to obtain additional supporting documentation.
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
C.F.R. Code of Federal Regulations
DDS Disability Determination Services
DE-DDS Delaware Disability Determination Services
DE-DOL Delaware Department of Labor
FY Fiscal Year
Pub. L. No. Public Law Number
SSA Social Security Administration
SSA-4513 State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs
Treasury Department of the Treasury
U.S.C. United States Code
Scope and Methodology
To achieve our objectives, we:
Reviewed applicable Federal law and regulations, pertinent parts of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Program Operations Manual System and other criteria relevant to administrative costs claimed by Delaware Disability Determination Services (DE-DDS) and drawdowns of SSA program grant funds.
Interviewed staff and officials at DE-DDS; Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; and SSA's Philadelphia Regional Office.
Reviewed State policies and procedures related to personnel, medical services, and all other nonpersonnel costs.
Evaluated and tested internal controls regarding accounting, financial reporting and cash management activities.
Reconciled State accounting records to the administrative costs reported by
DE-DDS on the State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs (Form SSA-4513) for Federal Fiscal Years (FY) 2001 through 2003.
Reviewed the administrative costs DE-DDS reported on its Forms SSA 4513 for FYs 2001 ($3,781,290), 2002 ($4,198,160), and 2003 ($4,318,787).
Examined certain administrative expenditures (personnel, medical service, and all other nonpersonnel costs) incurred and claimed by DE-DDS for FYs 2001 through 2003 on the Form SSA-4513. We used statistical sampling to select expenditures to test for support of the medical service and all other nonpersonnel costs.
Examined the indirect costs claimed by DE-DDS for FYs 2001 through 2003.
Discussed indirect costs with the cognizant agency for Delaware, the Department of Labor.
Compared the amount of SSA funds drawn to support program operations to the expenditures reported on the Form SSA-4513.
Reviewed DE-DDS electronic data processing general controls and physical security at its offices in Wilmington, Delaware.
We concluded the electronic data used in our audit were sufficiently reliable, given the audit objectives and intended use of the data, and should not lead to incorrect or unintentional conclusions. We assessed the reliability of the electronic data by reconciling it with the costs claimed on the Form SSA-4513. We also conducted detailed audit testing on selected data elements from the electronic files.
We performed work at the DE-DDS in Wilmington, Delaware, and the Office of Audit in Baltimore, Maryland. We conducted fieldwork from August 2004 through May 2005. The audit was conducted in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Our sampling methodology encompassed the four general areas of costs as reported on Form SSA-4513: (1) personnel, (2) medical, (3) indirect, and (4) all other nonpersonnel costs. We obtained data extracts from DE-DDS for FYs 2001 through 2003. Also, we randomly selected one month in each of the 3-year audit period and reviewed supporting documents for all Medical Consultants under contract to DE-DDS.
We randomly selected one pay period in FYs 2001, 2002, and 2003 and reviewed all personnel transactions for the pay period. We tested DE-DDS payroll records to ensure DDS correctly paid employees and adequately documented these payments.
For medical consultant costs, we randomly selected one month in FYs 2001, 2002, and 2003. We selected all medical consultants during that period and verified that the medical consultants were paid in accordance with the approved contract.
We stratified medical costs into medical evidence of record and consultative examinations and selected a stratified random sample of 150 items (50 items from each stratum in FYs 2001, 2002, and 2003).
We determined the State-wide indirect cost allocation to the parent agency was performed using an indirect cost negotiation agreement approved by the cognizant Federal agency (Department of Labor). The agreement states " any fixed rate contained in the agreement was based on an estimate of the cost which will be incurred during the period for which the rate applies. When the actual costs for such period have been determined, an adjustment will be made in the negotiation following such determination, to compensate for the difference between the cost used to establish the fixed rate and that which would have been used were the actual costs known at the time." We reviewed the State-wide allocation for FYs 2001, 2002, and 2003, to verify the State applied the approved fixed rate to the DDS.
All Other Nonpersonnel Costs
We selected a stratified random sample of 150 items (50 items from each FY) from the All Other Non-personnel Costs category. We stratified the transactions into the appropriate categories and distributed the 50 sample items for each year between categories based on the proportional distribution of the costs.
August 4, 2005
Administrative Costs Claimed by the Delaware Disability Determination Services (A-13-05-15011)-Response
A review of the draft report entitled, Administrative Costs Claimed by the Delaware Disability Determination Services (DDS) (A-13-05-15011) for Fiscal Years ending 2001 through 2003, contained three recommendations. We have received the Delaware Department of Labor (DOL) response to the draft report, including their supporting documentation.
Our comments are as follows:
Instruct the DE-DOL and the DE-DDS to include Administrative Services and Technical Support (AS&T) costs in the Statewide Indirect Cost Allocation Plan and report the AS&T costs as indirect costs on the SSA-4513.
We agree with the recommendation that DE-DOL should amend the statewide cost
allocation plan for the state fiscal year covering the period July 1, 2005 through
June 30, 2006 to incorporate the AS&T charges. We also agree that the AS&T
charges should be reported as indirect costs on the SSA-4513 and will instruct
the DE-DDS to reclassify these costs as indirect costs.
Work with the DE-DOL and the DE-DDS to determine the validity of the unsupported costs of $12,200 and refund any disbursements for which support could not be provided.
We agree with this recommendation partially. Unsupported costs of $12,200 includes two specific costs; $11,100 for telephone charges and $1,100 for off-site storage rental fees. The DE-DOL provided the OIG with the supporting documentation for the telephone charges of $11,100 subsequent to the release of the draft audit report. This portion of the finding has been resolved.
The balance of unsupported costs of $1,100 for off-site storage rental fees remains undocumented and should be refunded to SSA.
Instruct the DE DOL and the DDS to provide adequate documentation to support the action to grandfather-in temporary employees.
We agree with this recommendation and recognize that DE-DOL response does not adequately address the issue. SSA will recommend to DE-DOL to alter the State of Delaware's procurement policy to add appropriate language regarding grandfathering provisions.
If you have any questions, please contact Betty Martin in the Center for Disability Programs at 215-597-2047.
State Agency Comments
OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
Shirley E. Todd, Director, General Management Audit Division (410) 966-9365
Randy Townsley, Audit Manager, General Management Audit Division (410) 966-1039
William Alan Carr, Auditor-in-Charge
Eugene Crist, Auditor
Kimberly Beauchamp, Writer/Editor
For additional copies of this report, please visit our web site at http://ww.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-13-05-15011.
Overview of the Office of the Inspector General
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 Executive Operations (OEO). To ensure compliance with policies and procedures, internal controls, and professional standards, we also have a comprehensive Professional Responsibility and Quality Assurance program.
Office of Audit
OA conducts and/or supervises financial and performance audits of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) programs and operations and makes recommendations to ensure program objectives are achieved effectively and efficiently. Financial audits assess whether SSA's financial statements fairly present SSA's financial position, results of operations, and cash flow. Performance audits review the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of SSA's programs and operations. OA also conducts short-term management and program evaluations and projects on issues of concern to SSA, Congress, and the general public.
Office of Investigations
OI conducts and coordinates investigative activity related to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in SSA programs and operations. This includes wrongdoing by applicants, beneficiaries, contractors, third parties, or SSA employees performing their official duties. This office serves as OIG liaison to the Department of Justice on all matters relating to the investigations of SSA programs and personnel. OI also conducts joint investigations with other Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies.
Office of the Chief Counsel to the Inspector General
OCCIG provides independent legal advice and counsel to the IG on various matters, including statutes, regulations, legislation, and policy directives. OCCIG also advises the IG on investigative procedures and techniques, as well as on legal implications and conclusions to be drawn from audit and investigative material. Finally, OCCIG administers the Civil Monetary Penalty program.
Office of Executive Operations
OEO supports OIG by providing information resource management and systems security. OEO also coordinates OIG's budget, procurement, telecommunications, facilities, and human resources. In addition, OEO is the focal point for OIG's strategic planning function and the development and implementation of performance measures required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.