LINCOLN — The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services cost taxpayers $1.8 million by failing to request federal money owed the state.
State Auditor Mike Foley released a report Tuesday saying that agency officials did not seek reimbursement for a variety of child welfare services during the five-year window for doing so.
“The federal money was literally there for the asking,” Foley said. “All the state needed to do was to file a timely request for reimbursement.”
He said his office discovered the problem while examining the accounting for an adoption assistance program managed by HHS.
After digging deeper, audit staff found that the problem extended to reimbursements due for adoption assistance, foster care, child support enforcement and state inspection of health care providers.
The agency ended up writing off $1.8 million of unclaimed federal funds from 1996 through 2006.
In a response to the auditor’s report, HHS officials said the department has implemented policies and procedures this year to ensure federal reimbursements are requested within the time limits.
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