An audit of the state’s management of the food stamp program finds — in some cases — a longer overlap in foster care and adoption assistance with food stamp benefits than is permitted by law.
Someone who gets “Family Investment Program” or “food stamp” benefits is not to receive any other benefits from the Iowa Department of Human Services. However, there is a one-month transition period allowed for children who go into foster care or are being adopted. It allows the prospective parent or guardian to receive the child’s foster care payments or adoption assistance grants during that 30-day window.
A state audit reviewed over 380 cases and found 28 percent had improperly gotten both foster care and food stamp benefits for up to four months. About 13 percent got adoption assistance and food stamps for too long. Managers for the agency say the error rate may be due to a dramatic reduction in staff handling the cases. In 2009, there were 116 more employees working in the unit. Case loads increased from about 600 per worker in 2009 to 772 per worker in 2012.
The audit of the Department of Human Services also noted several paperwork errors in other programs, including a lack of appropriate documents in some files.