Budget & Utilization Research


Budget and utilization research is performed when a participant’s budget balance is zero before the end of the approval period. This could be the result of the participant over-utilizing authorized units or there could be an error in the budget. This research is performed to identify the problem, communicate it to the participant and counselor as applicable, and resolve any issues or discrepancies.

This process is performed by the <<Staff Title>> at the end of each weekly pay cycle. Upon processing payroll using the Payroll System, an error may display stating that insufficient <<hours, units, dollars>> are remaining in the participant’s budget balance to cover the timesheet.  These timesheets are preliminarily researched during processing and a <<Research form>> is completed for them. <<At the end of the pay cycle, the <<Staff Title>> collects the Research forms and performs the below process to research them.>> 


  1. <<Staff Title>> collects all Research forms at the end of each pay cycle
    • Research forms are stored in the Timesheets for Research folder in the Payroll Department
  2. Select the first Research form in the folder
  3. <<Staff Title>> requests Billing History report for the participant from Billing Department
  4. Verify that the research was not already performed and the timesheet paid
    • Go to <<File Path>>
    • Within this folder, a folder exists for each participant for whom research has been performed in the past
    • Search for a folder named for the participant
  1. If you locate a folder named for participant, review the research spreadsheet within the folder and perform the following steps
  2. Compare the research to the “Needs Research” sheet and complete any missing information on the “Needs Research” sheet
  3. Verify that the research was completed accurately by double checking the calculations and data
  4. Print the research page for the participant
  5. Attach the research page to the back of the timesheet that could not be paid for insufficient hours
  6. <<Insert process to research a participant's budget utilization>>
  7. <<The point of this process is to ensure that the participant actually has spent all of his/her budget and his/her timesheet should not be paid.>>
Internal Controls: 

The internal controls used by F/EA to monitor this process establish responsibility, segregate duties, document procedures and ensure independent internal verification.

  1. All systems are password protected
    1. Only staff with direct responsibility for certain payroll duties have password access to systems
  2. Programmed system controls track participant spending and prevent payment of a timesheet if the budget balance will be less than zero following payment
  3. Payment data that facilitates research is maintained in F/EA payroll systems for 7 years per File Retention Policy
  4. A control document of payroll payment research is maintained
  5. Staff preparing the research document sign and date the control document
  6. The control document and all supporting documents are maintained for a minimum of 7 years per File Retention Policy
  7. All communication with the participant is logged and maintained for a minimum of 7 years per File Retention Policy
  8. Staff who communicate with consumers regarding utilization are separate from staff who perform utilization research