SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
BY THE TEXAS 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: March 23, 2006
To: Ramona Schuenemeyer
Regional Commissioner Dallas
From: Inspector General
Subject: Administrative Costs Claimed by the Texas Disability Determination Services (A-06-06-16008)
Our objectives were to (1) determine whether costs claimed on the State Agency
Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs for the period October 1,
2001 through September 30, 2004 were allowable and funds were properly drawn;
(2) evaluate Texas Disability Determination Services' (TX-DDS) internal controls
over the accounting and reporting of administrative costs; and (3) perform a
limited review to assess the general security control environment.
The Disability Insurance (DI) program, established under Title II of the Social Security Act provides benefits to wage earners and their families in the event the wage earner becomes disabled. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, established under Title XVI of the Act, provides benefits to financially needy individuals who are aged, blind, or disabled.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for implementing policies for the development of disability claims under the DI and SSI programs. Disability determinations under both DI and SSI are performed by Disability Determination Services (DDS) in each State, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia in accordance with Federal regulations. In carrying out its obligation, each DDS is responsible for determining claimants' disabilities and ensuring adequate evidence is available to support its determinations. To assist in making proper disability determinations, each DDS is authorized to purchase medical examinations, x rays, and laboratory tests on a consultative basis to supplement evidence obtained from the claimants' physicians or other treating sources.
SSA reimburses the DDS for 100 percent of allowable expenditures up to its approved funding authorization. The DDS withdraws Federal funds through the Department of the Treasury's (Treasury) Automated Standard Application for Payments system to pay for program expenditures. Funds drawn down must comply with Federal regulations and intergovernmental agreements entered into by Treasury and States under the Cash Management Improvement Act of 1990. An advance or reimbursement for costs under the program must comply with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A 87, Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments. At the end of each quarter of the Fiscal Year (FY), each DDS submits a State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs (Form SSA-4513) to account for program disbursements and unliquidated obligations for the FY. The Form SSA-4513 reports expenditures and unliquidated obligations for Personnel Service Costs, Medical Costs, Indirect Costs, and All Other Nonpersonnel Costs.
TX-DDS is a component of the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (TX-DARS) and is located in Austin, Texas. TX DARS completes and submits Forms SSA 4513 and prepares requests to transfer cash from Treasury to the State Treasurer. As of September 30, 2005, TX DARS had reported program disbursements and unliquidated obligations on Form SSA 4513 as shown on the table below.
Amounts Reported as Disbursements and Unliquidated Obligations for TX-DDS
Reporting Item FY 2002 FY 2003 FY 2004
Personnel $46,342,087 $46,757,531 $47,399,479
Medical 34,300,218 33,378,558 33,658,262
Indirect Costs 11,063,618 10,226,336 8,344,138
Other Nonpersonnel 8,220,532 8,271,473 9,597,095
Total Disbursements $99,926,455 $98,633,898 $98,998,974
Unliquidated Obligations $0 $0 $40,157
Total Obligations $99,926,455 $98,633,898 $99,039,131
RESULTS OF REVIEW
For FYs 2002, 2003 and 2004, disbursements charged to SSA for TX DDS operations were generally allowable and funds were properly drawn. However, the State improperly charged payments totaling $778,111 to terminated employees for unused leave and could not support unliquidated obligations totaling $40,157 for FY 2004.
PAYMENT OF UNUSED LEAVE TO TERMINATED EMPLOYEES
TX-DDS improperly charged costs associated with the payment of unused leave for terminated employees. These costs were charged as direct costs and indirect costs. Such costs should have only been allocated indirectly as general administrative expenses across all activities of the governmental unit or component. In FYs 2002, 2003, and 2004, employees who separated from service were given lump sum payments totaling $219,969, $383,271, and $174,871, respectively.
Federal regulations state that payments for unused leave for employees who terminate their employment through retirement or other separation are allowable " provided they are allocated as a general administrative expense to all activities of the governmental unit or component." Thus, the costs are not allowable as direct charges. Additionally, on July 31, 2002, the Acting Associate Commissioner for Disability sent DDS Administrators' Letter No. 615 reminding the administrators of the correct procedure for reporting payments for accumulated leave or severance pay when an individual leaves employment. The letter, which was effective July 31, 2002, urged DDSs to examine their indirect cost agreements to ensure they are structured to account for payment of unused leave to retired/terminated employees in accordance with OMB Circular A-87.
UNLIQUIDATED OBLIGATIONS REPORTED ON FORM SSA-4513 WERE NOT SUPPORTED
The TX-DARS was unable to support $40,157 reported as an unliquidated obligation for FY 2004. Absent supporting documentation, we were unable to determine the nature of the obligation, the allowability of the amount reported, the existence of the obligation in the Federal FY or the creation of the liability. Per SSA guidance, "Valid obligations should be supported by documents/records that describe the nature of the obligations and support the amounts recorded."
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In general, TX-DDS disbursements charged to SSA for FYs 2002, 2003, and 2004 were allowable and funds were properly drawn. However, the State improperly charged payments totaling $778,111 to terminated employees for unused leave and could not support unliquidated obligations totaling $40,157 for FY 2004.
We recommend that SSA instruct the TX-DDS to:
1. Refund costs charged to SSA for unused leave payments for TX-DDS employees who terminated their employment through retirement or other separation. This consisted of $219,969 identified during FY 2002; $383,271 during FY 2003; and $174,871 during FY 2004.
2. Deobligate $40,157 from the FY 2004 Form SSA-4513.
SSA agreed with our recommendations. Regarding Recommendation 1, SSA stated it will provide Texas with instructions on how to process this refund. To address Recommendation 2, SSA stated Texas is working on a change to its accounting system that will prevent this type of finding in the future. See Appendix D for the full text of the Agency's comments.
STATE AGENCY COMMENTS
The TX-DDS agreed with our recommendations. See Appendix E for the full text of the TX-DDS' comments.
We appreciate the comments received from SSA and TX-DDS and believe the responses and planned actions adequately address our recommendations.
Patrick P. O'Carroll, Jr.
APPENDIX A - Acronyms
APPENDIX B - Scope and Methodology
APPENDIX C - Texas Disability Determination Services' Schedule of Disbursements, Obligations, Audit Adjustments, and Disbursements Allowed
APPENDIX D - Agency Comments
APPENDIX E - State Agency Comments
APPENDIX F - OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
C.F.R. Code of Federal Regulations
DDS Disability Determination Services
DI Disability Insurance
Form SSA-4513 State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs
FY Fiscal Year
OMB Office of Management and Budget
POMS Program Operations Manual System
SSA Social Security Administration
SSI Supplemental Security Income
Treasury Department of the Treasury
TX-DARS Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
TX-DDS Texas Disability Determination Services
Scope and Methodology
We reviewed the administrative costs the Texas Disability Determination Services (TX DDS) reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA) on State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs (Form SSA-4513) for the period October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2004. We obtained sufficient evidence to evaluate administrative costs in terms of their allowability under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments, and appropriateness as defined by SSA's Program Operations Manual System (POMS). The TX-DDS reported total obligations of $99,926,455 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2002, $98,633,898 in FY 2003 and $99,039,131 in FY 2004 as of September 2005.
To accomplish our audit objectives, we
Reviewed applicable Federal laws and regulations, pertinent parts of SSA's POMS and other instructions pertaining to administrative costs incurred by TX-DDS and the draw down of SSA funds.
Obtained computerized data from the State to support amounts reported on Form SSA-4513 and tested the reliability of the data by comparing disbursements, by category and in total, with amounts reported on Form SSA-4513.
Reconciled the amount of Federal funds drawn for support of program operations to the allowable expenditures.
Reconciled the accounting records to the costs reported by TX-DDS on its Form SSA-4513 for FYs 2002, 2003, and 2004.
Reviewed TX-DDS' policies and procedures related to personnel, medical, indirect, and non-personnel costs.
Interviewed staff from SSA, Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, and TX-DDS.
Documented our understanding of the TX-DDS' system of internal controls over the accounting and reporting of administrative costs.
Conducted limited general control testing related to physical access security and security within the TX-DDS.
Selected a random sample of personnel, medical, and non-personnel costs.
Reviewed a sample of 50 employees from one pay period in May 2004 and traced information to accounting records, timesheets, and personnel files.
Selected all 46 medical consultants on the TX-DDS staff paid during one pay period in May 2004 to determine whether the consultants were licensed and if payments to the consultants complied with the terms of their employment contract.
Sampled medical cost payments for Medical Evidence of Record and Consultative Examination payments and reviewed a sample of 50 medical cost payments per year from FY 2002, FY 2003, and FY 2004.
Reviewed a sample of 50 All Other Nonpersonnel Cost payments per year from FYs 2002, 2003, and 2004.
Examined indirect costs claimed by TX-DDS for FYs 2002, 2003, 2004 and the corresponding indirect cost rate agreements.
The entity audited was the TX-DDS within the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. We performed our audit at the TX-DDS State Office and Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services in Austin, Texas, and at the SSA Regional Office in Dallas, Texas. Our audit was conducted from June 2005 through January 2006. We conducted our audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Texas Disability Determination Services' Schedule of Disbursements, Obligations, Audit Adjustments, and Disbursements Allowed
Description Disbursements Reported Unliquidated Obligations Audit Adjustments
Personnel $46,342,087 ($219,969) $46,122,118
Medical 34,300,218 0 34,300,218
Indirect 11,063,618 0 11,063,618
All Other 8,220,532 0 8,220,532
Totals $99,926,455 ($219,969) $99,706,486
Personnel $46,757,531 ($383,271) $46,374,260
Medical 33,378,558 $0 $33,378,558
Indirect 10,226,336 $0 $10,226,336
All Other 8,271,473 $0 $8,271,473
Totals $98,633,898 ($383,271) $98,250,627
Personnel $47,399,479 ($174,871) $47,224,608
Medical 33,658,262 $34,766 (34,766) 33,658,262
Indirect 8,344,138 3,525 (3,525) 8,344,138
All Other 9,597,095 1,866 (1,866) 9,597,095
Totals $98,998,974 $40,157
Date: March 6, 2006
To: Patrick P. O'Carroll, Jr
From: Ramona Schuenemeyer
Regional Commissioner Dallas
Subject: Administrative Costs Claimed by the Texas Disability Determination Services (A-06-06-16008) -- Reply
We appreciate the opportunity to comment on this draft audit report. We agree with both of the recommendations and are working with the DDS to implement the necessary changes. We would like to thank the OIG Audit staff in the Dallas Region for the excellent manner in which they were able to organize and perform this audit. We certainly appreciate their efforts to keep all parties informed of their progress during the course of the audit.
Our responses to the recommendations contained in the narrative report are as follows:
1. Refund costs charged to SSA for unused leave payments for TX-DDS employees who terminated their employment through retirement or other separation. This consisted of $219,969 identified during FY 2002, $383,271 during FY 2003, and $174,871 during FY 2004.
We concur with this recommendation. We will provide the State of Texas with instructions on how to process this refund.
2. Deobligate $40,157 from the FY 2004 Form SSA-4513.
We concur with the recommendation. The State of Texas is working on a change to their accounting system that will prevent this type of finding in the future. Texas will make additional efforts to verify these obligations should be cancelled and will take appropriate action.
If you would like to discuss this, please call me. If your staff has questions,
please have them call Tom Berling at (214) 767-4281 in Management and Operations
Support, Center for Disability.
State Agency Comments
Terrell I. Murphy
March 10, 2006
Patrick P. O'Carroll Jr.
Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General
6401 Security Blvd\4-L-1 OPER
Baltimore, Maryland 21235-001
RE: Texas Response to OIG Findings
Dear Mr. O'Carroll:
Finding one: Refund costs charged to SSA for unused leave payments for TX-DDS employees who terminated their employment through retirement or other separation. This consisted of $219,969 identified during FY 2002; $383,271 during FY 2003; and $174,871 during FY 2004.
Response: We concur with this recommendation. Dallas Regional Office will provide us with instructions on how to process this refund.
Finding two: Deobligate $40,157 from the FY 2004 Form SSA-4513.
Response: While we concur that the State of Texas could not provide supporting documentation for these unliquidated obligations, we are working on a change to our accounting system that will prevent this type of finding in the future. Texas will continue verifying expenditures and canceling remaining obligations as necessary in conjunction with the Dallas regional office. As of December 31, 2005 the unliquidated obligations total $24,950 and we anticipate finalizing FY 2004 by the end of FY 2006.
Please contact James Dawson, DARS Accounting Director at (512) 424-4601 if you have any questions.
William R. Wheeler
Chief Financial Officer
OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
Paul Davila, Director, (214) 767-6317
Paul Wood, Audit Manager, (214) 767-0058
In addition to those named above:
Lela Cartwright, Auditor-in-Charge
Ashley Moore, Auditor
Wanda Renteria, Auditor
Clara Soto, Auditor
Warren Wasson, Auditor
Joshua Campos, Auditor
Brennan Kraje, Statistician
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-06-06-16008.
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 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.
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 Resource Management
ORM supports OIG by providing information resource management and systems security. ORM also coordinates OIG's budget, procurement, telecommunications, facilities, and human resources. In addition, ORM 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.