Expected to Work/Barriers to Full Employment Policy & Procedures

Published Date: December 17, 2015
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19 Administrative Procedures

Payment Methods and Processes

Introduction

INTENT

To choose the payment method best suited to the situation keeping in mind:

  • Whenever possible, use only one payment per client per period of assistance (POA) to provide assistance for the benefits they are entitled to for that period.
  • Avoid third party payments unless permitted by policy.
  • Exercise stewardship over public resources by using the most cost efficient and effective methods in issuing benefits appropriate to the circumstances.
  • Whenever possible, clients receive funds in time to meet needs and avoid penalties. Issuing benefits promptly also reduces workload for staff.

POLICY (Effective September 1, 2015)

This section outlines the policies for the following payment methods:

  • Central Direct Deposits (CDD) (EMP 1928DD Direct Deposit Statement)
  • Central Cheque Processing (CCP) (EMP 1928 CCP Cheque)
  • District Office Cheque (DOC) (EMP 2023 District Office Cheque)
  • Procurement Card (PCard)
  • Purchase Authorization and Invoice (Voucher) (EMP 0018 Purchase Authorization and Invoice)
  • Drug Authorization (EMP 1976 Drug Authorization)
  • Health Benefits Card (Part of EMP 1928 Direct Deposit Statement/EMP 1928 CCP Cheque/EMP 2023 District Office Cheque)

Payment Types

Payments Payable To: LISA Code Types of Payments Generated:
CDD CCP DOC PC
Client or Client's Public Trustee or financial administrator MC X X    
MD X X X  
SU X X X  
HD     X  
Vendor (3rd Party) SU   X X X
HD     X  

Payment Abbreviations

CDD Central Direct Deposit
CCP Central Cheque Processing (cheque)
DOC District Office Cheque (printed at the district office)
MC Main payment processed at cut-off and printed Centrally (at Headquarters)
MD Main payment processed after cut-off and printed centrally or at the District office
SU Supplemental payment
HD Handwritten (or typed) in District office
DQ Disaster Services Cheque

Main Payment Central (MC)
The MC payment is printed through CCP or CDD in Edmonton.

LISA automatically flags the system for a CCP or CDD payment if the worker approves payment before the cut-off date. As this is the most efficient method workers should process as many CRCs as possible before the cut-off date.

Main Payment After Cut-Off (MD)
LISA automatically generates a CDD or CCP if the worker approves payment after the MC cut-off date.

The MD direct deposit/cheque is printed centrally (CDD or CCP) unless the worker sets the Pick-Up flag to Y (yes) in Client Budget, on the Payment Requisition screen on LISA for Service Centre printing (DOCs are more time-consuming than CDDs and CCPs since they have to be signed by two signing authorities and manually processed for mailing).

Note
In the Client Budget, on the Payment Requisition Screen, do not enter “Y” on the cheque pick up flag if the client has a debit card, otherwise there will be a duplicate issue.

Supplemental Payment (SU)
LISA automatically generates a SU when the worker adds a need to the budget after a MC or MD payment has been issued.

The SU cheque is printed centrally (CDD or CCP) unless the worker sets the Pick-Up flag to Y (yes) on LISA.

SU Payments generate the same kind of workload as MD payments. Therefore, whenever possible, workers should add the extra benefits on to the following month’s payment to avoid producing the extra CDD or CPP.

Manual (Handwritten) Local District Service Centre Cheques (HD)
Manual (HD) cheques are either a handwritten or manually typed DOC. As such they are time consuming and susceptible to errors.

HDs are only used when LISA is down or in unusual circumstances which are clearly documented.

Disaster Services Cheque (DQ)
DQ cheques are not available on LISA unless Headquarters (HQ) authorizes engaging of the appropriate functions 95, 96 and 97. This authorization occurs in a disaster that warrants exceptional arrangements to meet unusual needs.

A minimum of information is required since the person(s) are not registered on CCD and file numbers are not assigned. Only five need codes are allowed. The IT Site Contact prints the payments using a separate print function.

Vouchers
Vouchers are used only to pay vendors for goods or services provided to our clients. They can be LISA-printed or manual (handwritten).

Vouchers are only used in the following circumstances:

  • The dollar amount is not known at the time of issue (e.g. taxi fares).
  • When allowed in policy (Health Benefits).
  • When direct payments to clients are not feasible (e.g. very high likelihood funds will be misused).

Priorities When Issuing Payments
Workers consider the following priorities when selecting a payment method.

  1. Direct Deposits (CDD) are the preferred payment method
  2. Central Cheques (CCP)
  3. District Office Cheques (DOC)
  4. Vouchers
  5. PCard
  6. Manual DOCs are the last alternative for unusual circumstances only

Direct Deposits and Cheques
When a worker creates the client’s budget on LISA for the first time in a payment period, the system will automatically allocate the funds to a main payment (MC or MD).

Cheques for the following month are not to be mailed earlier than five working days before the end of the month or released for pick up earlier than four working days before the end of the month.

Direct Deposit is enabled when client banking information is entered in LISA. Direct Deposits for the following month are normally deposited into the client’s bank account 4 banking days before the end of the month.

Direct Deposit/Cheque Messages
When issuing a cheque or direct deposit workers are encouraged to use the worker comments section to provide appropriate clarification for clients. A Direct Deposit/cheque message is retained on the electronic file for three months.

Two types of messages are available to be printed on a client’s Direct Deposit slip or cheque stub:

  • Central Message and
  • Worker Message

Central Messages
Central Direct Deposit/Cheque Messages are written monthly by HQ program staff and are printed on a client’s main payment. A Central Message:

  • Can be directed to specific client types such as Income Support or Adult Health Benefit
  • May not be produced each month for every client type.
  • May be put on CDD, CCP, or DOC payments as long as the payment is flagged as a type of main payment.

An example of a Central Message is the yearly message about the Children’s School Expense benefit.

Procurement Cards (PCard)
Procurement Cards
(PCards) are issued to employees to provide an efficient and effective means to purchase goods or services. On a limited and emergent basis, Pcards may be used to provide payments for Income Support benefits according to the policies set out in the Procurement Card section.

Note
The Income Support Contact Centre can issue all benefits they are delegated to administer by PCard provided the client has an immediate need and conditions 2 and 3 exist.

Worker Message
Worker messages may be put on CDD, CCP, or DOC payments by DO staff for both main benefits and supplemental benefits. All individualized payment messages must be business-related. Messages considered to be personal are not acceptable (i.e., Merry Christmas or Congratulations on the birth of your new baby). The individualized cheque message is limited to three lines for a total of 120 characters (40 characters per line). The following are examples of acceptable business-related messages:

Requesting Specific Documentation: Please send in most recent utility bill.
Medical has expired. Please send in new one if still unable to work.
Requesting Contact or Notifying of New SFSC: Please contact your CEC (name and phone #).
Your new worker is (name and phone #).
Providing Information to the Client: Your budget has been increased with the addition to your family.
Explaining Benefits: Money for employment expenses is included.
Cheque amount is for 17 days assistance.
Payment for January utility bill is included.
Instructing Other Staff: DOC’s only Hold for pick-up.

File Review for all Types of Payments
The Manager is responsible to determine the number of active files the Income Support Supervisor (ISS) reviews each month to provide reasonable assurance that benefit payments are correct.

PROCEDURE

  1. The ISS reviews the paper file and the LISA information to ensure:

    • The benefits and amounts are within policy for the payments issued during the POA being reviewed,
    • Supporting documentation required by policy is on file,
    • Appropriate coding has been used, and
    • Proper authorization has been obtained.

  2. The ISS notes in Mobius Notes:

    • A review has been done,
    • The date of the review,
    • Payment type(s) and issue date(s) that were reviewed and
    • If appropriate, follow-up required.

  3. If required, the ISS BFs the file and ensures appropriate action is taken.

  4. The Service Centre will maintain records of the files reviewed each month, the results and action taken as required – for the auditors.