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Department of Health and Welfare mistakenly double pays $32 million in benefits

Department of Health and Welfare mistakenly double pays $32 million in benefits

Niklas Kleinworth
December 1, 2023

According to internal communications within the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the department mistakenly double-paid more than $32 million in welfare benefits and dropped other payments entirely during the month of November.

The message notes these issues are part of the challenges many departments are facing with implementing the LUMA system, Idaho’s new integrated state finance and accounting system. More than 3,000 transactions from November 27 were erroneously duplicated and reissued the following day.

Some of the overpayments include:

  • $9,245,399 Medicaid Pharmacy
  • $22,140,095 Medicaid Base
  • $469,991 Energy Assistance
  • $90,708 Foster Care
  • $31,754 Child Support
  • $827 Childcare
  • $269,701 Unspecified Programs

Payments to other beneficiaries were missed entirely. These included payments to foster parents and Medicaid providers and were caused by the transactions being caught in the system queue. When these transactions get stuck for longer than 15 days, the program clears them from the program.

IDHW noted in its email that both issues are being corrected within the State Controller’s Office and the Treasurer's Office.

This is just the latest in a string of issues the state is facing with its new financial management system. The program has been plagued with issues surrounding its usability and bugs throughout its implementation — even garnering criticism from House Speaker Mike Moyle.

Recently, staff at the Division of Financial Management and the Idaho Tax Commission struggled to track state tax collections for the first quarter of the fiscal year. This prevented the departments from producing up-to-date reports on how much money was spent against revenues.

LUMA cost taxpayers more than $100 million over the seven years it took to implement. This expensive program was supposed to streamline the state’s finances and integrate operations across agencies. However, issues like this one illustrate the challenges facing the system and how much of the criticism is warranted.

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