For the second year in a row, a state audit has found problems with how Delaware distributes federal welfare benefits.
The audit released Wednesday shows Delaware's Division of Social Services (DSS) and Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) wrongfully distributed federal welfare benefits 25 percent of the time.
Many people received funds even though their benefits were supposed to be suspended for one reason or another, according to State Auditor R. Thomas Wagner. But lax internal controls within these agencies allowed payments to continue.
“Federal law requires paternity testing and updated child support payments before you receive any of these funds. 25 percent of the 60 cases that were tested did not follow through with those procedures,” he said.
This is the second year in a row an audit uncovered these problems within the two agencies.
The DSS and DCSS administer federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which distributes cash to low-income people with children.
If these agencies don’t fix these problems, the federal government could cut funds to the state.
“We get hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government in these type of accounts and you don’t want to put any of that at risk, especially in these stringent budget times,” Wagner said.
Increased communication between the two divisions would prevent a lot of these wrongful distributions, according to Wagner.
The agencies are currently trying to recoup the money they overpaid.
Correction: A previous version of this story said that people who failed to pay child support wrongly received TANF benefits. The people who were wrongly paid TANF benefits were child support recipients.