Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households Program:
Other Needs Assistance Handbook
Revision: 09-1
Effective: July 20, 2009

Section 12000

Automated Control System

12100  Overview of Automated Systems

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009

The four systems involved in delivery of benefits to victims of Texas disasters are:

  • the FEMA National Emergency Management Information System (NEMIS),
  • the Disaster Assistance Payment Program (DAPP),
  • the State of Texas Comptroller's Vendor Payment System, and
  • the Health and Human Services Accounting System (HHSAS).

The FEMA NEMIS system operates in the National Processing Service Centers (NPSC) in Denton, Texas; Hyattsville, Maryland; and Mt. Weather, Virginia. The system is written by FEMA national office and is used in disaster recovery operations nationwide to track government assistance to disaster victims.

Data from the FEMA system is transferred to DAPP. DAPP updates and maintains the file and creates payment transactions, which are sent to HHSAS.

The DAPP is maintained by HHSC Information Technology. Its primary function is to create a payment file to submit to HHSAS and then the state comptroller for printing of disaster assistance warrants. First, a vendor identification (VID) record is created. The records are assembled into a maintenance file. This file is used by HHSC's Fiscal Management Services (FMS) to add disaster victims to the comptroller's VID file so that warrants are printed with the correct name and address information. Once the data is exported into the HHSAS, the file is added to the HHSAS pay file and sent to the state comptroller. The comptroller is authorized to produce warrants or issue electronic funds transfers (EFT) for disaster victims.

The comptroller's Vendor Payment System prints warrants based on the file provided by HHSAS.

12110  Tasks and Responsibilities Involving Automation

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009

ONA is responsible for:

  • downloading the FEMA State Export to populate DAPP,
  • responding to staff and applicant inquiries,
  • training temporary staff,
  • maintaining system hardware and software,
  • coordinating with IT to:
    • analyze and upgrade DAPP,
    • correct erroneous transactions, and
    • download information; and
  • coordinating with FEMA system programmer to manage the exchange of data.

12200  FEMA National Emergency Management Information System (NEMIS)

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009

The NEMIS system includes personnel, fiscal, program reporting and eligibility systems for the Housing Assistance (HA) and Other Needs Assistance (ONA) provisions of the Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households Program (IHP). ONA workers access the NEMIS system to review application information and make an eligibility determination. The ONA decision is entered in NEMIS.

The parts of the NEMIS system that directly affect the Other Needs Assistance Program are:

  • The Teleregistration system. Applications are taken over a toll-free telephone line and downloaded to the FEMA integrated database (NEMIS).
  • The Individual Assistance Center. Applications may be taken via the Internet. The website address is www.fema.gov/assistance/register.shtm.
  • The Automated Construction Estimating (ACE) system. Inspections are registered electronically by a pen-based computing system. Information is downloaded to the FEMA integrated database. The prices for each item are programmed at the start of each disaster.
  • The application processing module of the FEMA integrated database. The purpose of the module is to enable ONA staff to make grant decisions and prevent the cooperating agencies from giving overlapping or duplicate benefits to the same victim. The agencies involved are Small Business Administration (SBA), FEMA and HHSC. Insurance benefits and assistance from voluntary agencies are also taken into consideration. FEMA enters SBA and Housing Assistance decision information in the NEMIS system. ONA staff enter the ONA decision in NEMIS.
  • Notification letters are printed directly from the NEMIS system by FEMA.

12210  The ONA File

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009

For the Texas ONA program, FEMA's NEMIS system produces a file of ONA cases that consists of applicant identifying information and payment information. The disaster data file from NEMIS is downloaded to DAPP to form a database, eliminating duplicate data entry for ONA. Disaster payment authorizations are downloaded from NEMIS into the DAPP system.

12300  The Disaster Assistance Payment Program (DAPP)

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009

The primary functions of the DAPP system are to update the database, prepare payment data and transmit the data to HHSAS (see Section 12400, Comptrollerís Vendor Identification (VID) Payment System). The DAPP system also provides a means of tracking case actions and producing reports.

The DAPP system consists of a master file of all ONA approved applicants and programs to create pay files and statistical reports. The pay file is created and updated from transactions transmitted from the NEMIS state export. Data from the Comptroller's Verification Report is also used to update the pay file with warrant information.

The DAPP system holds transactions which will not meet comptroller format requirements. It also holds transactions because of sequence and calculation errors. It holds and reports duplicate Social Security numbers. It permits flagging cases to be held for payment until a vendor identification problem is resolved.

12310  Error Correction

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009

In response to error reports from the DAPP or HHSAS, transaction errors from the system and vendor identification problems are handled by updating the database, correcting transactions and releasing transactions from hold. The DAPP system maintains an audit trail of all transactions.

12320  Tracking and Reporting

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009

Reports available on the DAPP system include:

  • The Daily Status Report (DARIS) contains the number of approvals, dollar amount of approvals, average grant amount, and reconsiderations and appeals.
  • The County Web Report detailing grant award activity by county.
  • Payment Projection Report – a daily report stating the projected total(s) by disaster to be paid out to clients for the current day.
  • Disbursement Report – a report listing the prior day payments/warrants paid out and to whom.
  • Ad hoc reports can be created in response to management needs in DAPP.

12330  Program Maintenance

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009

During a disaster, this system requires daily monitoring from an IT programmer and production control staff. Occasional programming changes are made to conform to new FEMA/IHP regulations or procedures.

At the conclusion of a disaster operation, and after the Texas Disaster Emergency Management (TDEM) audit, the DAPP files are maintained.

12400  Comptroller's Vendor Identification (VID) Payment System

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009

The data files in HHSAS are updated with DAPP input. HHSAS produces a Vendor Identification (VID) maintenance file, a pay file and associated reports. These files and reports are delivered to Central Operations in HHSC Fiscal Management Services (FMS). HHSAS provides the interface with the comptroller's vendor payment system.

The comptroller’s Uniform States Accounting System (USAS) maintains a VID file. The VID maintenance file, produced by HHSAS, is run prior to the pay file to update the VID file. After the VID maintenance file is run, the pay file is used to produce warrants for disaster victims.

Upon completion of the warrant processing by the comptroller’s office, both the warrants and a file verifying warrant numbers, dates and amounts are transmitted to FMS to update the DAPP system. The warrants are then mailed out by HHSAS.

12500  Health and Human Services Accounting System (HHSAS)

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009

HHSAS provides the interface between ONA and the comptroller's VID File Maintenance section, as well as other entities in the comptroller's office and the state treasury. Specific ONA activities are:

  • transferring files to the comptroller's office,
  • submitting forms to update the VID file,
  • mailing warrants to applicants,
  • replacing lost or stolen warrants, and
  • re-mailing returned warrants.

HHSAS Financials is an integrated software application that includes PeopleSoft modules:

  • Accounts Payable
  • General Ledger

These PeopleSoft modules provide the following functions to process the pay file in HHSAS:

  • Includes key functions such as expenditure processing, invoices, check writing (local funds) and TINS vendor setup and maintenance.
  • Is integrated with budget checking functions to ensure spending controls are enforced.
  • Includes primary functions of a general ledger, such as journal processing, online editing and validations of transactions, real time budget, checking and posting, and a daily interface to USAS.
  • Incorporated budget control mechanisms can be tailored to meet specific requirements of each HHS agency, including Appropriation, Allotment, Organization and Object level budget checks.
  • Includes grant and project accounting, setup, tracking and reporting.