department of health and social services

Division of Social Services

Statutory Authority: 31 Delaware Code,Section 512 (31 Del.C. §512)



Case Record Maintenance and Retention


Nature of the Proceedings

Delaware Health and Social Services (“Department”) / Division of Social Services (DSS) initiated proceedings to amend the language in the Division of Social Services Manual (DSSM) as it relates to case record maintenance and retention. The Department’s proceedings to amend its regulations were initiated pursuant to 29 Delaware Code Section 10114 and its authority as prescribed by 31 Delaware Code Section 512.

The Department published its notice of proposed regulation changes pursuant to 29 Delaware Code Section 10115 in the October 2005 Delaware Register of Regulations, requiring written materials and suggestions from the public concerning the proposed regulations to be produced by October 31, 2005 at which time the Department would receive information, factual evidence and public comment to the said proposed changes to the regulations.

Summary of Proposed Change


Title 29 Delaware Code, Chapter 5, Subchapter I, Public Records

Summary of Proposed Change

DSSM 1005: Changes the retention period for case records for State and/or federally funded programs from three (3) years to five (5) years.

Summary of Comments Received with Agency Response and Explanation of Changes

The Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC) and the State Council for Persons with Disabilities (SCPD) offered the following observation summarized below. DSS considered each comment and responds as follows:


Although, SCPD recognizes that there may be some negative aspects to longer retention periods (e.g. potentially promoting overpayment inquiries several years after provision of benefits), maintaining records for longer periods should generally promote the quality and accuracy of claims processing and program administration. Therefore, Council endorses the proposed regulation.


There are essentially two changes to the existing regulations: 1) the standards would apply not only to DSS but to DMMA as well; and 2) the current 3-year general records retention period would be expanded to 5 years.

The GACEC endorses the proposed regulation.

Agency Response: DSS thanks the Councils for their endorsement.

Findings of Fact

The Department finds that the proposed changes as set forth in the October 2005 Register of Regulations should be adopted.

THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, that the proposed regulation to amend the language in the Division of Social Services Manual (DSSM) as it relates to case record maintenance and retention is adopted and shall be final effective December 10, 2005.

Vincent P. Meconi, Secretary, DHSS, November 17, 2005




1005 Case Record Maintenance and Retention

Case records will contain important facts regarding applicants for and recipients of DSS and DMMA services, the dates that applications for benefits are filed and the dates eligibility decisions are reached, the facts essential to determining initial and continuing eligibility for financial assistance, medical assistance, food stamps or other services, the basis for terminating assistance or services, and information regarding overpayments and claims.

The Division of Management (DMS) of the Department of Health and Social Services, in discharging its fiscal accountability, will maintain an accounting system and supporting fiscal records adequate to assure that claims for federal funds are in accord with applicable Federal requirements.

The Division of Social Services and the Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance will maintain case records for its State and/or federally funded programs for a period of three (3) years five (5) years subject to the following qualifications:

a) The three‑year five-year retention period starts from the date of termination of cash assistance benefits.

b) The records will be retained beyond the three (3) year five (5) year period if the Division has been notified of a pending audit.

c) Records of non‑expendable property which was acquired with Federal grant funds shall be retained by the State Office for three (3) years five (5) years after final disposition of such property.

d) Any papers (forms or correspondence) in an active record which are more than four (4) calendar years old may be destroyed on site with the permission of the unit supervisor who has possession of the record. In destroying such papers, care should be taken not to destroy records of permanent value such as birth certificates, deeds, trusts, contracts, or other records of value. The following are examples of forms which may be destroyed on site:

Cash Assistance and Food Stamp budget sheets; Bank forms or statements; Wage forms or stubs; Shelter statements, bills, or receipts; Duplicate forms, letters, etc. Note: Information needed to substantiate outstanding overpayments cannot be destroyed.

Cases that are under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) or that have outstanding overpayments will be retained beyond the three‑year period and will remain intact until the investigation and subsequent legal action is complete or the overpayment is filed. Case files that have been referred to DOJ for prosecution are so indicated with a file copy of the Criminal Justice Report.

9 DE Reg. 1001 (12/01/05)(Final)