Fighting Fraud, Saving Money from State to State

Photo of a hand surrounded by small screen images, representing the idea of identification technology.“A penny saved is a penny earned” is an adage that government accounting officials take to heart when working with the public’s money.

For nearly two decades, innovative technology allows federal and state government personnel to compare records, root out ineligible people on public assistance, redirect eligible clients to appropriate services, and reduce duplicate payments.

The Public Assistance Reporting Information System, also known as PARIS, is a federal-state partnership that provides all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico detailed information and data to assist local government in maintaining program integrity and detecting and deterring improper payments.

Saving Taxpayer Money

Many states have shared their success stories on the PARIS website. Hundreds of millions have been saved, with some amazing numbers posted in recent entries:

  • A recent report from New York State showed that in its 2011 fiscal year PARIS identified nearly 10,000 people to be removed from public assistance. It is estimated that more than $56.7 million was saved based on calculating the average annual cost of a person in each of the following case types:
    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
    • Medicaid
  • Pennsylvania also shared some amazing numbers. The Keystone State compared numbers in its PARIS Interstate with the Department of Veteran Affairs matches. As of December 2012, the following savings have accrued:
    • $134,437,660 in estimated annualized savings from 53 PARIS interstate matches (151,198 cases were reviewed, resulting in 33,093 individuals being removed)
    • $34,758,278 in estimated annualized savings from 12 Veteran Affairs matches (50,473 cases were reviewed resulting in 6,246 cases closed or benefits reduced)
    • $3,584,868 in estimated annualized savings from 7,000 cases that were reviewed by local counties and found that benefits to 933 were able to be closed or reduced 
    • $172,780,806 is the total estimated annualized savings due to PARIS matches in Pennsylvania

Steering People to Better Resources

Along with taxpayers, U.S. Veterans benefit from PARIS each day as more ex-military are being steered toward better, appropriate resources. Veterans who weren’t aware of their eligibility to benefits relied on Medicaid. These veterans are now being identified and are being switched over to monetary and medical benefits provided through the Veterans Affairs. Read about the success in Washington state.

Background

Since 1993, ACF has been working with state public assistance agencies and with other federal agencies to develop information-sharing projects that have proven useful in verifying the income of individuals receiving public assistance. ACF has sought to identify information-sharing opportunities, and to lead and coordinate the activities required to take advantage of these opportunities.
Congress recognized ACF’s successful efforts in this regard by enacting a law to require that states have eligibility determination systems that provide for data matching through PARIS or a successor system. The provision took effect on Oct. 1, 2009.

For more information about PARIS, visit its history page.

PARIS is operated by the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. www.acf.hhs.gov/paris

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