Revision 12-4; Effective December 1, 2012

 

HHSC contracts with a data broker vendor to provide financial and other background information about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Combined Application Project (SNAP-CAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid applicants and recipients. The vendor collects and combines information from several sources into one report. The report includes information such as residence address, individuals living at that address, vehicle and real property ownership, credit, employment, income verification (TALX), Texas Works Commission (TWC) wages and benefits, and other information reported to other sources.

Resolve discrepancies between data broker information and information the applicant/recipient provided. Do not begin denial procedures based on information obtained in a data broker report. Always:

  • contact by telephone and request the information needed to explain the discrepancy and document the results of the telephone contact; or
  • send a written request for information or proof to resolve the discrepancy.

Note: Federal law limits the use of credit reports. Credit reports will not be pulled for MEPD programs.

Authorized staff request and review a data broker report for:

  • clues to unreported income, resources and living arrangements; and
  • vehicle and property values and related property tax amounts.

Office of Eligibility Services, State Operations, requires authorized staff to request:

  • ME combined reports on all applications,
  • specific item reports, as needed.

 

Access Permission

Supervisors/managers complete Form 4743, Request for Applications and System Access, for each authorized person who needs access to the data broker system and sends the completed form to the designated security officer for approval. In the comment field of Form 4743, the supervisor/manager annotates the date the Data Broker Security Agreement was signed. Once added to the system, you will receive an email containing a temporary password link and further instructions. You must then successfully complete the initial web-based training and assessment(s) for your appropriate program area. Full access to Data Broker is automatically granted by the system upon successful completion.

Note: You have two attempts to score at least 70% on the assessment to obtain full Data Broker system access.

Inactive Users — Access the system at least every 90 days or the system deactivates your access. Once deactivated, you must request reactivation through the Regional IT Help Desk or through the state Data Broker coordinator. Once reactivated, you will receive an email containing a temporary password link and further instructions. You must then successfully complete a refresher web-based training and an assessment for your appropriate program area. Full access to Data Broker is automatically granted by the system upon successful completion.

Note: You have two attempts to score at least 70% on the assessment to obtain full Data Broker system access.

Forgotten Passwords — Use the Forgot your Password? link, and a temporary password link will be sent to the email address associated with your account. If no email address is listed on the account, request a reset through the Regional IT Help Desk or the state Data Broker coordinator. Training is not required.

 

Data Broker Passwords

Once training is successfully completed, log out, then log back in with the temporary password link previously sent to you via email. Enter an 11-digit employee identification number in the User ID field. The Validation Code (password) is automatically completed. After the password is validated, the system prompts you to change the password to a unique user-selected password.

You can change your password at any time. To change a password, click on the User Options field on the Dallas Computer System (DCS) Search Options Menu. Enter a new password, confirmation of the password and your email address in the appropriate fields. Click Update My Options to save the changes. Log out and then log back into the system to retain the changes.

 

Log-In Procedures

After accessing the HHSC intranet, enter the Uniform Resource Location (URL) for the data broker website: http://nofraud.dhs.state.tx.us/. To log on, enter the user ID and data broker password and click on "Login."

Note: By checking the Remember Login? box, the system will store only the user's employee identification number, which is the same as the User ID. The system will not store the password.

The first time you log on, two additional screens appear. The first is the Application for Password – HHSC Office of Eligibility Services (OES) screen. Read the screen and click "I understand and agree" to indicate you understand that data broker information can be obtained only for business purposes and is confidential. If you click "I disagree," data broker does not allow access to the system.

The second is the Additional Authorization for Access to Request Credit Reports screen. Even though MEPD programs do not use credit reports, all users must complete the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Agreement.

Even when the FCRA agreement is completed, the system does not allow access to credit reports for MEPD programs. Click "I disagree."

When using "TIERS," follow all the above steps in the stand-alone data broker application or you will not be able to receive any data broker information from the Texas Integrated Eligibility Redesign System (TIERS).

 

Left Navigation Search Options

The data broker reports available include:

  • Address
  • driver license Information
  • SSA Death Index
  • Texas Vehicle
  • Property
  • Telephone
  • Income Verification (TALX)
  • TWC Wages/Benefits
  • TX Marriage/Divorce
  • TX Criminal History
  • Comparison Report (when data is available for a comparison report)
    • Differences in Driver License Information
    • Differences in Persons at Entered Address
    • Differences in Persons at Driver License Address
    • Differences in Vehicles at Entered Address
    • Differences in Vehicles at Driver License Address
    • Differences in Income
    • Differences in Property Value Report
    • Differences in Texas Criminal Report

 

ME Combined

The ME combined search results in a report that includes all the search information listed above, except for Telephone and TX Marriage/Divorce Records. The ME combined search is the preferred method to request information.

 

Specific Search Item

Access a specific search from the DCS Search Options Menu from the left navigation bar. Clicking on a specific item will result in a specific report if needed.

 

Online Help

Online help is a function that includes text and sample screens on several search option screens from the DCS User Manual. When this function is available, a Help button is located next to the Submit button at the bottom of the data entry screen.

 

Entry Instructions

DL # — Enter the Texas driver license (TDL) number or Department of Public Safety (DPS) ID card number. Click "Lookup." This is not a mandatory entry, but when entered will automatically pull data for all fields except SSN and App or Case #. If DPS data is incorrect or obsolete, enter the correct data over the incorrect data. This pulls data from both the old and new address.

Inquire On — Click on the appropriate description for the person for whom you are requesting the inquiry.

  • Applicant – new applicants.
  • Recipient – currently active recipients.
  • None of the Above – anyone who is not an applicant or recipient.

SSN — Enter the Social Security number (SSN) of the person for whom you need data broker information. If an incorrect SSN is entered, an erroneous file may be created or information for the wrong person may be pulled.

Case # — Enter the application/case number. An application number must begin with the letter "A" or "T" (TIERS).

Note: TIERS users must run the Data Broker report through the TIERS interface and not the stand-alone system.

Entries must be made in the remaining fields when the DPS ID or TDL number is not known. These entries are self-explanatory.

 

Comparison Report

The Comparison Report is:

  • a tool to assist in rapidly determining changes that have occurred since the previous interview;
  • a summary of the changes between the previous and current Combined Report; and
  • a tool to alert the user of any changes since the previous report was pulled.

    Note: The Comparison Report is not generated for initial applications.

The Comparison Report is automatically generated when the:

  • previous Combined Report is not pulled the same day; and
  • identifying information entered on the previous and current Combined Report match.

    Note: If the identifying information differs between the two reports, the system does not generate the Comparison Report. For example, spelling a client's name as Stephanie one time and spelling it as Stefanie the next time does not generate a Comparison Report.

Each section of the current and previous Combined Report is compared. Any differences are listed at the bottom of the current Combined Report. The headers are highlighted to easily distinguish the differences from the rest of the data.

 

Address: Current/Historical

Data Broker searches the DPS database and pulls records for all people listed at the address entered on the Combined Report Search screen. The information pulled includes each person's name, address, date of birth and the last date DPS updated this particular record. Previous residents may appear if they have not changed their address with DPS.

Information on this report is useful in providing case clues.

The Validation field shows the date the individual on that line last updated information with DPS. All other entries are self-explanatory.

 

Address: Neighborhood

This report lists residents of the 20 addresses nearest to the address entered on the Combined Report Search screen. Information may be useful for locating people who may be able to assist the individual or who know the individual's circumstances. Data Broker pulls this information from the DPS database. The information is only as current as DPS' most recent update.

The Validation field shows the date the individual on that line last updated the information with DPS. The asterisk (*) indicates that the individual has a Texas ID in lieu of a TDL. Some clients may have both a Texas ID and a TDL. These individuals appear on two lines.

Contact a neighbor on the Data Broker report only when instructed by the client to do so.

 

Social Security Administration (SSA) Death Index

This report is only available as a specific item search from the left navigation DCS Search Options menu. Information from this report is not included on the combined report. The Death Master File contains approximately 50 million records of deceased individuals dating back to 1937. Approximately 98% of the file consists of individuals who died after 1962. The Death Master File contains only decedents whose deaths were reported to the SSA. While a majority of individuals who die are contained in the file, it is not a complete file of all deaths that occur in the U.S. Data Broker matches a last known address with approximately 30% of the death records. Most of these addresses are associated with individuals who died more recently (during the 1970s or later).

 

Driver License Number

Data Broker matches information from the Combined Report Search screen against DPS data. When a match is found, DPS data is pulled into the report. Information in this report may identify discrepancies in the identity and residence address of the individual. While DPS still collects information on height, weight, eye and hair color, this information is no longer sold to data brokers. DPS continues to carry information previously collected in these categories.

This report includes a Previous Name/Address sub-section. Since DPS re-issues driver license/ID numbers, approximately two years after the license/ID number expires, previous names/addresses associated with that number are listed in this section.

The Validated field is the date the driver license or ID information was last updated with DPS.

Note: DPS updates information on this report only when the individual with the TDL or DPS ID contacts DPS to update the information. When an individual changes his address or name, DPS sends the data broker vendor this information. Even though DPS does not retain an old address on its files, the data broker does. If the individual moves or has a name change and does not contact DPS, information on the DPS database will be obsolete. Always review the date the information was last updated.

 

Texas Vehicle

Data broker searches the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) database and pulls information for all vehicles listed at the address entered on the Combined Report Search screen. Information pulled includes the:

  • owner of each vehicle;
  • Texas vehicle license tag number;
  • year, make and model of each vehicle;
  • average wholesale value of the vehicle; and
  • vehicle's lien holder (when applicable).

This information is useful when exploring resources. The information provides case clues on vehicle ownership and value. Explore and clear any discrepancies.

Except for vehicle values, data broker receives updated information weekly from the TxDOT database. Data broker updates the vehicle value twice per year to coincide with the release of the National Auto Research (NAR) Black Book.

TxDOT updates its database when an individual renews a vehicle's registration, retitles a vehicle or reports a change of address to TxDOT. It is possible for vehicles not owned by the individual to appear on this report. This can happen when an individual does not complete a title transfer or does not update his address with TxDOT.

Vehicles registered at an address other than where the client lives do not appear on this report. When an individual has a vehicle not shown on the report, use the owner's name or the vehicle tag number to obtain information by using the Texas Vehicle report listed under the DCS Search Options menu.

The Value field lists the average wholesale value of the vehicle. Use this as verification for the wholesale value of the vehicle. See Appendix XVI for other acceptable methods of verification.

 

Property

This report contains information regarding real property owned in Texas according to the address listed on the Combined Report Search screen. The combined report provides information on ownership of the property at the address entered regardless of who owns the property. If an individual owns other property in Texas, the report lists the property only if the individual receives the tax bill at his address.

Individuals may report owning property in Texas that is not listed on the report. Obtain information on this property (if it is in one of the counties whose records are on the data broker system) by accessing the property report listed on the DCS Search Options menus.

 

The data broker system currently lists property records for the following counties:

Bell Ector Harris Lubbock Rockwall
Bexar Ellis Harrison McLennan San Patricio
Brazoria El Paso Hays Midland Smith
Brazos Fort Bend Hidalgo Montgomery Tarrant
Cameron Galveston Jefferson Nueces Travis
Collin Grayson Johnson Orange Webb
Comal Gregg Kaufman Parker Williamson
Dallas Guadalupe Kendall Potter
Denton Hardin Liberty Randall  

Note: Frequency of information updates on this report varies according to the county.

The total value of real property consists of the value of the land plus the value of any improvements. See Appendix XVI, Documentation and Verification Guide, for policy regarding property value verification.

Explore any discrepancies between information on an application/review and this report. Information on this report is taken directly from taxing authorities and can be used as a verification source. If a client states the information on the report is incorrect, request verification to clear the discrepancy. See Appendix XVI for other acceptable methods of verification. Note: Before taking action on a case based on property information, ensure that the property is not exempt (such as homestead, income producing, etc.).

 

Telephone Number

This report is only available as a specific item search from the left navigation DCS Search Options Menu. Information from this report is not included on the Combined Report. The telephone number search locates the address associated with the telephone number listed on the Combined Report from the ME combined search. The system then searches the address and lists all persons at the address associated with the telephone number.

 

Income Verification System (TALX)

DCS is the authorized agent for HHSC to receive income verification reports from the TALX Corporation, which provides an automated employment and income verification service. More than 1,000 employers provide their employees' salary data to the Work Number database each payroll period. Employers represent all industries, including fast food chains, retail stores, health care organizations, temporary staffing agencies and others. Employer lists are available online when "Income Verification" is selected from the left navigational bar of the data broker application.

If the employer's records are part of the Work Number database, the system returns the following payroll information in the requested combined search or the specific item search through data broker:

  • employee name, address;
  • Social Security number;
  • employment status;
  • most recent start date and/or termination date;
  • total time with employer;
  • job title;
  • rate of pay;
  • average hours per pay period;
  • YTD wages;
  • most recent pay periods of gross earnings for the period of time selected from the specific item search drop-down list (2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years or all available). Combined reports are defaulted to three months of income. If you require more than three months of income, then a specific item search will need to be performed; and
  • basic medical information.

TALX may also provide, on behalf of employers:

  • up to three years of income broken down by pay period;
  • payroll deductions: and
  • comprehensive medical information, including
    • carrier name;
    • policy and group number;
    • premiums; and
    • dependent care benefits.

Note: TALX is not an acceptable verification source for MEPD. Any information obtained via TALX should be treated as a case clue only and verification should be requested from the client.

 

New Hire Report

When applicable, an employee New Hire Report is displayed on the combined report. The report provides employer information, such as the hire date and employer name and address, and employee information, such as name, date of birth and address.

Note: The New Hire Report is not an acceptable verification source for MEPD. Any information obtained from the New Hire Report should be treated as a case clue only and verification should be requested from the client.

 

TWC Wages/Benefits

TWC inquiries are available through the specific item search on the left navigation Search Options Menu and Combined Data Broker report options and include information on wages, claimants and unemployment benefit records. Claimant and unemployment benefit payments will display only if the client has applied, is receiving or has received unemployment with TWC.

The TWC information is obtained in Data Broker using one of two methods.

  1. Specific Item Search (individual reports) will allow the user to search TWC information using the TWC Wages & Benefits link from the left navigation bar. Four search criteria are identified:
    • Claimant Status
    • Wage Details
    • Benefits
    • Combined Wages, Status, Benefits Report

    Individual searches can be done using any of the first three criteria. Selecting the fourth search criteria will return a combined report of all three TWC inquiries.

    The date filter option is available for the user to request TWC inquiries for any of the four search criteria. Date filter options include two months, four months, six months, one year, two years, three years or all available.
  2. Standard Combined Report allows the user to include the TWC information along with all other reports available.

    TWC information returned on the standard combined report will default to the last four months of data available for wage detail, claimant and benefit payments. If the user needs more than four months of data, the interactive search criteria can be used.

    The following codes appear within the Claimant Status Search and the Combined Wages, Status, Benefits Report:
  • Clm Sta — the current status of the claim
    • COMPLETE = is valid and complete
    • INCOMPLETE = is missing required information
    • VOID = is voided
    • BATCH = claimant must complete and activate the claim
  • Clm Sta DT — date the claim status last changed
  • Pgm — the program under which this claim is filed
    • EUC = Emergency Unemployment
    • EXB = Extended Benefits
    • REG = Regular Unemployment Insurance
    • TRA = Trade Affected Unemployment Insurance
    • TRX = Extended Trade Affected
    • TUC = Temporary Unemployment
  • Clm Dt — the Sunday effective date of this claim
  • Pay St — the two initials of paying state
  • File Dt — the date the claimant filed his/her claim
  • Last employer's name and address
  • WBA — the weekly benefit amount
  • MBA — the maximum benefit amount
  • Balnc — the current benefits remaining
  • Paid — the total amount of benefits paid
  • Disqual — the amount of benefits deducted from the balance due to disqualification
  • Overpmt — the amount of any overpayment of benefits on this claim
  • Recovrd — the amount of money recovered by TWC to offset an overpayment of benefits
  • Opbalnc — the amount of overpayment still remaining to be paid
  • Pend Invstn — whether or not TWC is investigating this claim. If yes, the person's benefits may be delayed. Y = Yes, N = No
  • BWE — end date of this benefit week (will always be a Saturday because TWC begins a new week on Sunday)
  • OP — the amount overpaid that week
  • Status — the status code of each certification
    • AA = BAD ADDRESS
    • AG = AGENT STATE CERTIFICATION
    • AR = SYSTEM ERROR - NOTIFY TE
    • CV = CONVERTED BENEFIT WEEK
    • DQ = DISQUALIFIED
    • EE = EXCESSIVE EARNINGS
    • EH = EXCESSIVE HOURS
    • FP = FIRST PAYMENT
    • FR = FRAUD
    • FV = FRAUD VOIDED BY APPEALS
    • GM = GOOD MONEY/ACCOUNTING
    • IC = OPEN INVESTIGATION
    • IE = INELIGIBLE
    • IN = INCOMPLETE INVESTIGATION
    • IW = WAITING WEEK IDENTIFIED
    • NC = RESPONSE NOT CERTIFIED
    • OP = OVERPAID
    • OR = OVERPAYMENT REVERSED
    • OV = OVERPAYMENT VOIDED
    • PD = PROCESSED
    • PP = PENDING PROCESSING
    • PR = PENDING EMPLOYER RESPONSE
    • RC = RECOVERED
    • RP = PARTIAL RECOVERY
    • SP = SUPPRESSION PERIOD
    • VC = VOIDED CLAIM
    • WW = SERVED WAITING WEEK
    • XX = FORCED PAY
    • YY = OFFLINE PAY
    • ZZ = PAY OLD CLAIM
  • TotDist — the sum of any recovered overpayments, Child Support payments and all other distributions for that week
  • TotDedc — the sum of any Child Support deductions and all other deductions for that week
  • PmtAmt — the amount of benefits issued to the claimant after any withheld for an overpayment recovery, Child Support or income tax. This amount may be less than the WBA.

The following codes appear within the Benefit Payments Search:

  • BWE — end date of this benefit week (will always be a Saturday because TWC begins a new week on Sunday.)
  • File Date — the date the claimant filed his/her claim
    • V = filed by telephone
    • P = filed by paper
  • Week Sts — the status code of each certification
    • CV = convert benefit week
    • DQ = disqualified
    • EE = earning adjustment
    • FP = first pay
    • IC = payment flag is "NO"
    • IE = ineligible (will not receive benefits)
    • IN = investigation pending, no payment
    • IW = identified waiting week; will not be paid until claimant receives three times the weekly benefit amount
    • NC = not certified
    • PD = paid
    • PP = pending payment
    • PR = pending for employer's response
    • PROCESSED = this claim is processed
    • WW = waiting week served and paid
  • Op Amt — the amount UI overpayment, if any
  • Erngs — amount of wages the claimant earned during this week, if any
  • Pgm — the program under which this claim is filed
    • EUC = Emergency Unemployment
    • EXB = Extended Benefits
    • REG = Regular Unemployment Insurance
    • TRA = Trade Affected Unemployment Insurance
    • TRX = Extended Trade Affected
    • TUC = Temporary Unemployment
  • Ddct — The sum of any Child Support deductions and all other deductions for that week. A deduction is a reduction in the weekly entitlement or amount benefiting the claimant. An example would be a reduction in benefit payment because the claimant receives retirement payment from a qualifying employer.
  • Dist — The sum of any recovered overpayments, Child Support payments and all other distributions for that week. A distribution is a benefit to the claimant but distributed to an entity other than the claimant. Examples of a distribution would include Child Support payments, IRS withholdings or overpayment absorption.
  • Amt — The amount of benefits issued to the claimant, after any withheld for an overpayment recovery, Child Support or income tax. This amount may be less than the WBA. Note: There are periods when payment is supplemented. An example is Federal Augmented Compensation (FAC). FAC payments increased weekly entitlement by $25. A weekly benefit payment with no deductions or distributions may be greater than the WBA.
  • Date — the date the benefits were issued to the claimant.
  • ID — the warrant number of this benefit payment. Payment is made by warrant, direct deposit and debit card. The method of payment is indicated by the first character of the payment ID. Codes include:
    • B = DIRECT DEPOSIT
    • D = DEBIT CARD
    • W = TWC WARRANT

If no information is available for a client, NO CURRENT MATCHES will display.

Error Messages: Error messages may appear when a request is made and the TWC database is down. When the TWC inquiry is retrieved, a feature in the Table of Contents of the Standard Combined Report will display the message, TWC Error: CLICK TO RETRY, next to TWC Wages and Benefits Report. By clicking on this link, the user can re-request the report without reentering all of the client's information.

 

TX Marriage and Divorce

This report is only available through a specific item search from the DCS Search Options menu. Information from this report is not included on the combined report. This report is pulled from the Texas marriage and divorce records from the Texas Department State Health Services, Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS). These records provide names of the individuals who are married/divorced as well as the date of the marriage/divorce. BVS updates the data annually.

 

TX Criminal

This information is available from the ME Combined Report. This information is not applicable for MEPD determinations.

 

Retention of Data Broker Reports and Providing Copies

Unless required by procedure, do not print data broker reports. If reports are printed, store them in a central file until the case action is processed. Once the case processes, shred the reports.

At the client's request, provide a copy of the data broker report.

If the client requests a fair hearing and a data broker report was used to determine eligibility, mail a copy of the data broker report to the hearing officer with the other case information.

 

Case History

For most inquiries, the data broker system retains historical information for three years from the initial inquiry date. After that time, the vendor archives the information for another three years. Retrieve and view previously pulled data broker inquiries at no cost to the agency, if necessary. Use the reports pulled for associated eligibility determination if the action occurred within the last six months. Because of this feature, a credit report may be viewed when it is related to associated eligibility determinations in other program areas.

 

Case Actions

When taking action on a case as a result of information from a Data Broker report, different procedures apply depending on the report used. Whenever there is a discrepancy between information on any report and the client's statement, offer the client an opportunity to verify the information.

If questionable information is discovered at a review, treat it as any other questionable information and request verification from the client.