Feds: Idaho welfare funds were spent correctly

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services official says an Idaho agency spent $2.5 million in leftover welfare funding correctly, contrary to the findings of a state audit.

Idaho's Legislative Services Office released an audit earlier this week that concluded the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare wrongly used money left over from the 2008 budget for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to cover salaries instead of using it to help pay for assistance.

Department officials contested the finding, saying a federal rule change allowed states to spend the money on all services to keep needy families together - including social worker salaries. In Friday's email to the state, the federal agency agreed.

The state says no one who qualified for the welfare benefits was turned away.