In 1993, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) began working with state public assistance agencies (SPAAs) and other federal agencies to develop information-sharing projects to verify the circumstances of public assistance clients. ACF identified information-sharing opportunities and coordinated activities to take advantage of those opportunities. As a result, ACF is able to provide the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) compensation and pension payment records as well as interstate public assistance benefit information.
Between 1993 and 1997, ACF provided 29 state public assistance agencies with VA compensation and benefit information to establish client eligibility and benefits. Of these, five reported actual and projected program savings, and the other 24 indicated that the information proved useful when verifying client circumstances.
In September 1997, ACF also provided VA information to 16 states on possible duplicate interstate public assistance payments (AFDC/TANF, Medicaid, Food Stamps, SSI and other federal and state public assistance programs). States participating in this initiative signed state-to-state agreements for the exchange of information on active cases only. Sample copies of the VA and federal computer matching agreements and state model agreements can be found under PARIS Agreements. In May 2002, PARIS received approval for a new match with active and retired federal civilian employees and active and retired military.
The Qualifying Individual (QI) Program Supplemental Funding Act of 2008 was signed in October 2008. The QI Act requires states to have a Medicaid eligibility determination system that provides for data matching through PARIS (or any successor system), including matching with medical assistance programs operated by other states. With this system in place, states receive Medicaid Federal matching funds for reimbursement of state costs to administer the Medicaid State plan. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a state Medicaid directors’ letter on June 21, 2010 to announce this information to the states. Now all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico participate in the program.
The Department of Defense's Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) provides computer resources to support PARIS development and operation. DMDC produces a match file based on Social Security Numbers (SSN). Some states apply filters to the matched records to ensure precious staff time is spent on the records with the greatest potential for savings. States currently apply filters based on individual goals and needs.
For example, Pennsylvania filters on birth date and surname to identify possible SSN-only errors. Maryland goes a step further by looking at the benefit amount and length of overlap.
Many States filter out cases lacking opening dates. After applying the filters, the matches are then cleared by the state. Some states use local benefit office staff, fraud investigators, or both to clear the matches. States are expected to verify the matched individual's continued eligibility for benefits in their state and take whatever case action is appropriate. There are currently no mandated match clearance procedures.
A vital component of the multi-state match process is the need for a telephone contact system. States need to quickly communicate with one another for a number of reasons:
- To confirm an action that was taken
- To obtain benefit history data for overpayment processing
- To resolve data discrepancies
Some states have established a central or county point of contact. The file submitted to DMDC has fields for contact information. States should be prepared for the volume of calls they may receive as a result of other states following up on matched records. A list of all current PARIS board members is found at the Board of Directors. Members of the PARIS Board of Directors are available to discuss any general questions or entertain suggestions you might have for improving the process.
The majority of PARIS states allow staff 30-45 days to complete their work on a match and some allow staff up to 90 days; there is no required completion deadline.
At the Oct. 30, 2008 ACF Honor Awards Program, the assistant secretary of the Administration for Children and Families presented an award to the PARIS Project.
“As a part of ACF’s scorecard, Proud to Be Reporting and the President’s Management Agenda, PARIS is a leader in the Administration’s Improper Payments Program that have translated into documented savings totaling $300 million."
PARIS was recognized by the HHS Secretary in its 2006 Honor Awards Program
At the June 29, 2006 HHS Honor Awards Program, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services presented an award recognizing the PARIS project as a “true Federal-State Partnership Program under the President’s Management Agenda that helped save millions of dollars through the identification of improper payments.”