Regression Estimates in Federal Welfare Quality Control Programs

By Hansen, Morris H.; Tepping, Benjamin J. | Journal of the American Statistical Association, September 1990 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Regression Estimates in Federal Welfare Quality Control Programs

Hansen, Morris H., Tepping, Benjamin J., Journal of the American Statistical Association


The purpose of this article is to examine the statistical properties of the sampling and estimation procedures used in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Food Stamp quality control (QC) systems for estimating overpayment error rates and the statistical implications of the use of the overpayment error rates to assess liabilities of the states for overpayment errors that exceed what have been designated by the Congress as allowable tolerances. This article summarizes some of the results presented in reports on the statistical implications of the quality control programs in AFDC and in the Food Stamp program prior to changes in the Food Stamp program introduced by legislation in 1988. Along with other changes, the legislation changes the focus to the sum of the overpayment and underpayment error rates. We believe that the principal conclusions drawn in this article hold also under the 1988 legislation. Unless otherwise specified, however, all references in this article to the QC system refer strictly to pre-1988 conditions.

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Department of Agriculture, is responsible for national administration and management of the Food Stamp program. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA), Department of Health and Human Services, has similar responsibility for the AFDC program. Each state is responsible for administration within the state and for day-to-day operation of these programs, including accepting applications for benefits, investigating and determining eligibility of applicants, determining the amount of allotments to applicants determined to be eligible, and issuing benefits. Ordinarily the Food Stamp program is administered within a state by the same state and local agencies that are responsible for administering the AFDC program. In the case of the Food Stamp program, the benefit costs are paid by the federal government. Only the costs of administration within a state are shared by the state and the federal government; usually, each pays approximately half. For AFDC all costs are shared.

The QC systems are prescribed by law and by agency regulations and are in operation in each of the states. In these programs, each state does an intensive review of a monthly sample of active cases. The state review is an intensive re-investigation of each active sample case to determine the eligibility of the case and the amount of the benefit or allotment for the case. With certain exceptions (the exceptions include cases that are defined to be out of scope for various reasons), active cases are households issued benefits for the sample month. Efforts are made by the federal agencies to have the states complete the reviews of substantially all of the cases selected for the state sample. Generally, the observed completion rates for in-scope cases are relatively high. In Food Stamp QC, for example, the completion rate is usually more than 95% and, quite often, is 98% or more.

The overpayment error rate is equal to the estimated average overpayment divided by the estimated average payment. The overpayments include both payments to eligible cases that are higher than what they should be and payments to ineligible cases. An underpayment error rate is also computed for cases receiving benefits, defined as the ratio of the average underpayment to the average payment. Case error rates are also estimated. These include the proportion of active cases that are ineligible, the proportion with overpayments, and the proportion with underpayments. In addition, samples of terminations and denials are reviewed, and the proportion of cases with improper terminations and the proportion of applications that are improperly denied are computed.

The federal regional offices review and approve the states' sampling plans and monitor the QC activities. In each program a subsample of the QC review sample of active cases for each state is drawn by the regional office and is given an intensive dependent re-review.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Regression Estimates in Federal Welfare Quality Control Programs


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?