An accounts payable audit showed the Nebraska State Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) failed to request federal funding for services costing a total of $1.8 million between 1996 and 2006, according to the Omaha World Herald. The source claims the state branch had five years to file for government assistance in its operation of child welfare work, which included help with adoption processes, child support policing and costs associated with foster care.
The Syracuse Journal Democrat reports the inquiry into HHS finances began when Mike Foley, Nebraska's state auditor, and his staff uncovered $656,489 eligible for federal reimbursement that was not requested within the five year limit instituted by the U.S. government. A continued investigation, the source states, showed the total of more than $1.8 million Nebraska residents had paid for that would not be relieved by a recovery audit.
Foley expressed frustration with the HHS' handling of the state funds.
"The federal money was literally there for the asking," he told the World Herald. "All the state needed to do was to file a timely request for reimbursement."
The source says Nebraska's HHS will be making an extra effort to prevent such unnecessary losses in the future.