Report 2009-101 Highlights - November 2009

Department of Social Services:

For the CalWORKs and Food Stamp Programs, It Lacks Assessments of Cost-Effectiveness and Misses Opportunities to Improve Counties' Antifraud Efforts


Our review of the Department of Social Services' (Social Services) oversight of counties' antifraud efforts related to the California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program and the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as the food stamp program in California, found the following:

  • Although they have taken some steps, neither the counties nor Social Services has performed any meaningful analyses to determine the cost-effectiveness of their efforts to detect and deter fraud in the CalWORKs or food stamp programs.
  • Our analysis of counties' investigative efforts found that, using a three-month projection, the measurable savings resulting from early fraud activities exceed the costs for CalWORKs and approach cost neutrality for the food stamp program, assuming a three-month projection of savings.
  • Counties' early fraud efforts are more cost-effective than ongoing investigations.
  • Neither Social Services nor the six counties we visited took sufficient steps to ensure the accuracy of the data counties report on their investigation activities.
  • Social Services does not ensure that counties consistently follow up on information it provides them that might affect welfare recipients' eligibility.
  • Although Social Services asserts that the Statewide Fingerprint Imaging System (SFIS) deters welfare fraud, it has not assessed the cost-effectiveness of SFIS.

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