In the year 2000 DHS introduced a new way to electronically record time and attendance and make payments to providers.
Oklahoma was the first state in the nation to offer this quick and secure method.
The POS Machine
All contracted child care centers and homes must use the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) attendance tracking and payment system to receive subsidy payments.
As a child care provider you will have a small Point of Service (POS) machine that functions in a way that is similar to a credit card machine.
Parents will swipe their EBT cards through the POS machine to document time and attendance. You will use the machine to review and verify swipes and perform other tasks.
As part of the contracting process with DHS you must provide:
- An account at a financial institution where funds can be deposited
- A land line phone hook-up for the Point of Service (POS) machine
- A signed equipment agreement with the EBT contractor
Electronic information is sent from the machine to be matched against the plan DHS has approved for each child including the amount of the family share co-payment that you must collect from the family each month.
The machine will inform you how much co pay is due before DHS payment begins and if care is approved for that day.
The machine can also be used to run totals, case inquiry, or exception reports, and you can use it to void incorrect swipes for up to ten days.
Providers can also access this information on the Oklahoma EBT Provider Web.
Don’t worry. This may seem complicated, but it is really very simple.
The company contracted to provide the EBT machines will provide you with training about how to use the POS machine as well as taking care of any installation problems.
Your DHS child care subsidy payments will be deposited into your account electronically once a week, following a two-week delay.
The current DHS payment calendar is available on the Oklahoma EBT Provider Web.
Check Your Understanding
Now try answering this question about the Point of Service machine.
Which of these is the TRUE statement?
The parent, guardian, or authorized representative will swipe his or her EBT card through the POS machine to check children in and out of care. At the same time the cardholder enters a Personal Identification Number (or PIN) that represents his or her “electronic signature.”
The system will automatically keep track of the children receiving subsidy benefits who were in your care on a given date and shows the time in and time out as recorded on the POS machine.
Note: For the remainder of the training, parents, guardians, and authorized representatives will generally be referred to as “parents.”
Parents must swipe their EBT card each day, indicating attendance in order for you to be paid by DHS.
Even if the child is eligible to receive subsidy benefits, there is no guarantee of payment to you from DHS unless the card is swiped by the parent and an approved message is displayed.
If the EBT card is not swiped, it will be the parent’s responsibility to pay.
It is always best to have parents swipe their card every time they drop off or pick up their child from child care.
However, the parent will have up to 10 days from the date of care to record any missed swipes.
For example, a parent drops their child off at your facility on the 9th but forgot to bring their EBT card so they were unable to swipe. The 18th is the last day the parent can complete previous ins and outs back to the 9th.
If the parent does not record any missed swipes within the 10 days from the date of attendance, you can charge the parent the DHS approved rate for the day(s).
In a similar situation, a parent completes previous in and out swipes for the 9th although the child did not attend that day.
You, as the provider, will have until the 18th to void the incorrect swipes. If you fail to void the incorrect swipes and are paid by DHS for that day, you will incur an overpayment that must be paid back.
Although it is the parent’s responsibility to complete accurate swipes for the times the child is in care, it is your responsibility to monitor the POS reports daily to make sure the information transmitted through the POS machine is accurate. You can also monitor swipes on the Provider Web.
Remember: You have only 10 days from the attendance date to void any swipes made in error. The parent only has 10 days as well to correct any incorrect swipes.
The EBT system allows for previous in and out swipes to record attendance for up to 10 days (the current day and the previous 9) following the actual date of attendance. If you choose to allow parents to enter previous in and out swipes, a “pending” message will always be received. These will pay unless the client has used up all the days for which they have been approved.
However, once again, there is no guarantee of payment unless an “approved” message is received on your POS machine when the parent swipes his or her card.
If swipes are denied you should require the parent to continue to swipe attendance every day that the child is in care. The parent should immediately contact their worker if they receive denied swipes.
However, you should realize that until you receive an approved message on your POS machine, there is no guarantee that DHS will pay. The parent may owe you the DHS daily rate for that day.
You are running a risk to your business if you allow a child to attend and choose not to collect money from the parent while awaiting DHS approval – which may or may not come. You must refund any money you have collected from parents that is more than their assigned family share co-payment if you are paid later for those days by DHS.
A Practical Example
Again, let’s look at an example.
Debbie is going back to work. DHS has approved child care benefits for her daughter, Annette, starting September 1.
Debbie’s monthly co-payment is $100. When she swipes her card she gets a denied message. Debbie contacts her worker immediately to report the problem but continues to swipe the EBT card.
Your facility requires Debbie to pay the DHS daily rate of $20 a day. She continues to swipe her card and on the 7th day of care you receive notice that she is approved beginning September 1 and the POS machine shows approved swipes. Debbie had already paid $120 for the previous 6 days of care.
What should happen next?
As you can see, it is very important that both you and the parent ensure that the parent ACCURATELY enters attendance information into the POS machine.
Errors in attendance entries may require you to pay DHS back for overpayments, and a pattern of errors or overpayments will lead to your contract with DHS being cancelled.
Here are a few other rules to keep in mind to avoid errors that might create overpayments.
NEVER allow or request the parent to enter attendance information for a day or time the child was not in your care
The child will be authorized by DHS for a maximum number of days per month according to the family’s approved need. However, the child may not attend the maximum number of days due to staying with relatives, sick days at home, days off work for the parent, vacation, etc.
The child should never be checked in for a date not attended, nor should the parent be charged for that date.
Remember: You must void any incorrect swipes recorded on the POS machine and have the parent re-enter the correct attendance.
NEVER charge DHS or the parent for a day or time the child was not in your care
There should never be EBT transactions or manual claims filed on dates that your business is closed. This includes scheduled days like weekends and holidays or unscheduled closings such as for fire or other emergencies.
As the owner or employee of a child care facility you should NEVER be in possession of a parent’s EBT card – FOR ANY REASON.
Only the parent or authorized representative is allowed to swipe attendance.
Should an EBT card be left in the child care facility by accident it should be destroyed immediately by cutting through the magnetic strip on the card. The parent will need to return to a local county DHS office to replace the card.
As an owner or employee of a child care facility, you should never have access to an EBT card, and you should NEVER know the cardholder’s Personal Identification Number. This number is their “electronic signature.”
If others use their PIN they are fraudulently signing for the parent. Both the parent and the facility can be penalized for fraudulent use of a PIN.
Remember: A parent can have an authorized representative who is issued their own EBT card.
You and your staff should NEVER be an authorized representative for a child attending your facility
This will ensure that you avoid making EBT charges yourself.
Actions such as these are serious violations of your agreement with DHS and may lead to the cancellation of your contract.
You and the parent can also be responsible for overpayments.
Remember, your facility can be audited at any time.
You must learn to correctly use the EBT system and file accurate manual claims (when appropriate) in order to maintain your contract.
Check Your Understanding
Now try answering these questions to check your understanding.
As a child care provider you should:
One of your parents, Heather, drops by your child care facility to inform you that her daughter, Katy, is sick and will be staying with her grandmother that day. Question:
Heather starts to swipe her EBT card out of habit. What should you do?
In this module you have learned that to receive DHS subsidy payments you are responsible for using the EBT Point of Service (POS) machine accurately.
You’ve also learned five important rules for avoiding overpayments:
- NEVER allow attendance to be swiped if the child is not in your care
- NEVER charge for time when the child was not in your care or your business was closed
- NEVER have access to an EBT card or swipe a card yourself
- NEVER have access to a parent’s Personal Identification Number
- NEVER be an authorized representative for a child in your facility
Click the button labeled Contract Requirements below to continue to the next module.