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In 2005, the City of Toronto Auditor General issued a report titled, “Recovery of Social Assistance Overpayments, Toronto Social Services”. The review focused on the administration, monitoring and recovery of inactive social assistance overpayments (cases not currently receiving any assistance) and contained 14 recommendations. As of May 2008, 10 of the 14 recommendations have been implemented and there are divisional plans to implement the other four in 2008. This current report relating to active social assistance overpayments was deferred to provide the Division adequate time to address the 2005 recommendations.

The integrity of the City’s social assistance program is contingent on ensuring that benefits are accurately paid and when overpayments occur they are effectively and efficiently administered.

The primary objective of this review was to determine why social assistance overpayments occur and to identify opportunities to prevent such overpayments. Further, we assessed whether the Division has adequate controls in place to ensure the effective and efficient administration of overpayments including compliance with legislative requirements and internal procedures and practices.

Our review found that Toronto Social Services has adequate processes in place to effectively administer overpayments. However, the implementation of the recommendations in this report will further improve existing controls and contribute to achieving administrative efficiencies.