LIHEAP Identity Verification Examples from States
Compiled by the LIHEAP Clearinghouse November 2013
Source: LIHEAP manuals, Program Integrity Assessments
Alaska: All applicants and household members are checked against the State's Eligibility Information System (EIS), the Dept. of Labor (DOL), Child Support and Enforcement (CSSD) databases. If the recipient receives social security, SVES is checked. For those who are self employed, they must submit tax returns. We will use SVES to check proof of income, and therefore identify, for applicants who do not provide proof of social security income. As mentioned above, we also check our eligibility information system to verify the numbers.
We also check our state's prisoner database, ACOM, to check for incarcerated applicants. This is done through a report from ACOM which is downloaded into our software system twice a month. An alert notifying the caseworker to check ACOM for more information, including dates of incarceration, pops up when they go to work the case if the applicant is on the ACOM report. This interface searches by name, DOB, and partial social security number.
Connecticut: As part of the department's efforts to ensure that CEAP benefits are provided only to eligible households, all CAAs have been provided read-only access to the DSS Eligibility Management System (EMS). EMS enables CAAs to confirm the identities of those applicants or household members who are either currently on or who have previously received assistance through various department-run programs including, but not limited to, Temporary Family Assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Refugee Cash Assistance Program and State Supplement to the Aged, Blind and Disabled. The EMS also contains a Client Demographic screen that ensures that each social security number is valid prior to receiving approval for assistance. EMS serves as a valuable resource, assisting CAAs with verifying addresses, household composition and income. Public benefits, including child support payments, can be confirmed through the use of the EMS.
Idaho: The LIHEAP system uses the Numident (SSA) database for matching name, SSN, and date of birth for each household member listed on the LIHEAP application.
Iowa: To ensure the Iowa LIHEAP program has your correct Social Security Number (SSN), verification is limited to the following documents:
- Social Security Card.
- Financial statement showing the SSN.
- Payroll stub showing the SSN.
- Military ID card showing the SSN.
- Printout from the Social Security Administration received for a new card application, or to replace a lost or stolen card.
- Medicare Card.
Montana: Montana LIEAP Policy required eligibility workers to check other state databases in an effort to verify identities, income and resources. The workers check the Public Assistance System which performs computer matching with SSA's BENDEX system. Additionally, all household members over age 16 are checked through the state's MISTICS system which provides state wage and unemployment information. Montana is considering options for matching with the Death Registry System (MDRS) and other databases.
Oregon: To apply for LIHEAP in Oregon, applicants must present multiple forms of documentation including, but not limited to proof of income for all adult members of the household and copies of current home energy bills. All LIHEAP households are placed into a statewide database (OPUS) developed and maintained by Oregon Housing and Community Services. OPUS requires entry of several personal identifiers in order to process energy assistance benefits including but not limited to names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and physical addresses of all household members. Information is available for all LIHEAP households accessing services within the last 10 years. Use of this statewide database not only prevents duplicate payments, but also allows LIHEAP providers to identify discrepancies in personal information provided by HH at the time of eligibility determination.
Nevada: Verification of SSN: Once the SSN has been verified, it no longer needs to be requested with subsequent applications. Possible sources of verification are as follows (not all inclusive): Social Security card or check, Social Security Administration benefit letter Pay stub, NOMADS MEMB screen printout with a SSA verified number. EXCEPTION: The applicant does not need to be a current recipient of DWSS benefits; however they must have received at least one type of assistance (i.e., TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid).
Wisconsin: A data exchange agreement between the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Wisconsin Department of Administration has been established, which will allow the Division of Energy Services (DES) to access SSA data to administer its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). To implement, DES has been added to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' (DHS) agreement with SSA. This agreement will allow for verification of SSN with the Department of Health Services (DHS) Master Customer Index (MCI) data. Full WHEAP system implementation of positive SSN match as well as indication of "deceased" client alerts are taking place in FY 2014. SSNs will be verified for all new applicants, including household members, applying for assistance in FY 2014. All previous applicants and household members will be matched against MCI data and will either be verified, or, the record will be flagged to indicate further SSN verification is required prior to receiving assistance in the future. The WHEAP front-end web application has been modified to aid users by incorporating both SSA's and MCI's matching algorithms to discover common data entry errors by highlighting transposed numerical digits and spelling errors. MCI verifies SSN and client demographics with SSA via a nightly batch process. Additionally, this system reduces data-entry errors by using matching algorithms to highlight keying transpositions.
Massachusetts: DHCD has executed an Information Exchange Agreement and a Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act Agreement with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) for the purpose of:
- Securely transmitting Social Security Numbers and other required information to SSA.
- Verifying applicant information against SSA's SVES IV database.
- Determining the accuracy of household composition, including information about deceased individuals
- Determining LIHEAP eligibility based on SSA and other follow-up verifications (if needed) within 40 working days in non-crisis situations.
- Preventing fraud during the application certification phase and terminate potential improper payments, if any, during and after certification.
- Identifying and referring individuals committing fraud, identity theft, or other such acts to appropriate authorities.
DHCD's Performance Verification System shall verify Applicant and other members of the LIHEAP households' Social Security Number and other application certification related information, e.g., name, date of birth, fixed income sources and information about deceased individuals through the Social Security Administration's SVES IV database. DHCD has developed and submitted a security plan to SSA. Contingent upon SSA providing access to its database, verification shall begin in FY 2014. DHCD shall continue to mandate the use of its DHCD-E.Gov system and a LIHEAP software that meet program integrity standards, including but not limited to privacy, client confidentiality, and security requirements, record retention, and auditing process as determined by DHCD and SSA from time to time.
Washington: We verify applicant identities by using state ID's, SS cards, and/or birth certificates for children. In most cases this can be verified through the State's Benefit Verification System, which has information supplied by our Department of Social and Health Services. This system will only verify those clients that are receiving other state services, such as TANF/Food Assistance.
New Jersey: NJ has been in contact with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide NJLIHEAP with access to the SSA/EVS system. Any SSNs that cannot be verified through SSA will be sent to the DCA Income Integrity Unit for validation and review. The SSA matching process is approved and NJ is planning to implement in FFY 2014. In addition to the new validation process, we will also receive information on deceased and incarcerated individuals Currently, the DCA Income Integrity Unit is checking SSNs that are reported by the agencies.
South Dakota: Social Security Enumeration, prisoner database, death match and new hire match are done for those individuals that are currently receiving or have recently received SNAP (Food Stamps). Social Security Enumeration and new hire match are done for those individuals that are currently receiving or have recently received TANF and medical.
Utah: All applicants for HEAT Assistance must present various forms of documentation and verification to ascertain their identity and the identities of household members. SSNs and proof of income for all adult house members are required along with copies of their home energy bills. We also require birth certificates of all children under the age of six years. All applicant households are entered in the DWS central database, State Energy Assistance Lifeline (SEALWorks) where they are stored and by name, address, phone number, SSN, date of birth, etc. Applicant identities are also cross-checked against the Utah Dept of Workforce Services central database which stores information from various public assistance programs such as TANF and SNAPs and also includes the Unemployment Insurance program. SSNs will be cross checked against the E-share SSA EVES database.
The HEAT program will access the E-Share statewide Prisoner and Wage databases. Along with this, the Utah DOH, Vital Records Office, will allow the HEAT program to access their Death and Birth Records databases. We will also require SSNs for all household members and birth certificates for all children.