Sneak Preview: Oregon Agencies Aim To Tighten Program Eligibility

June 27, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from an article in the Single Audit Information Service.) In response to a recent audit by the Oregon Audits Division, Oregon health officials plan to work with the state legislature and the federal government to ensure that any individuals who receive public assistance are deemed truly needy and eligible, and any program recipients who have also received substantial lottery and gambling winnings have benefits end.

Federal laws and regulations for Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program provide state agencies with various policy options to adapt their programs to meet the needs of their eligible low-income participants. In 2011, about one in three Oregon residents was served by one or more of these programs. The state had the highest percentage nationwide of individuals receiving SNAP, yet ranked 25th for the number of people meeting the federal definition of poverty during the same time period. About 19 percent of the state’s population received SNAP benefits, while about 14 percent lived in poverty, compared to nearby Montana, in which 11 percent received SNAP benefits while about 16 percent lived in poverty.

In Oregon, Medicaid is administered by the Oregon Health Administration, while the SNAP and TANF programs are administered by the state’s Department of Human Services. During a recent audit, intended to identify potentially ineligible recipients and recommend ways to prevent improper payments, OAD found benefit recipient matches among Social Security Administration death records, state lottery winners and state prisoners. “It is important for states to balance accessibility with assurance that benefits are granted to those who are most in need,” it added.

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