BOISE (AP/KTVB) -- State auditors say the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare misspent $2.5 million in federal funding on salaries instead of using it for food stamps and other assistance for Idaho's poorest residents.

The finding by the Office of Performance Evaluation was part of the state's annual audit of how federal cash is used.

The $2.5 million spent on salaries and other non-assistance costs in 2013 was left over from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families budget from 2008. In Wednesday's report, the auditors said federal rules required that any carry-over funds be spent directly on benefits like food stamps, housing and other basic needs for poor families.

Health and Welfare Department leaders disagreed. They say the rules changed during the 2009 fiscal year, making non-assistance costs like salaries eligible expenses.