Action Needed To Reduce, Account for, and Collect Overpayments to Federal Retirees

AFMD-83-19: Published: Jun 28, 1983. Publicly Released: Jun 28, 1983.

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GAO undertook a review to determine whether the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has adequate internal controls to prevent, account for, and collect overpayments made from the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund.

GAO found that most OPM retirement and disability fund overpayments occur when beneficiaries undergo a status change that either eliminates their entitlement to benefits or reduces the amount payable to them. OPM relies on the beneficiary or the estate executors to report changes in status. Overpayments occur because beneficiaries do not report status changes and because OPM does not process reported changes promptly. GAO found that greater control over payments to beneficiaries might have avoided millions of dollars in overpayments over the past 5 years and might also have reduced the time and cost of recovering them. GAO believes that accurate accounting is essential if OPM is to manage the control and reporting of overpayments and provide the necessary information to maximize the collection of overpayments. Finally, GAO found that billing and collection practices for overpayments at OPM are not in accordance with federal claims collection standards and are frequently not effective.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should develop a debt collection system that enables it to charge interest on delinquent accounts.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should develop a debt collection system that enables it to conduct overpayment hearings when requested.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should develop a collection system that enables it to follow up with the Department of the Treasury on outstanding SF-1184's.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should develop a debt collection system that enables it to process requests for investigation and writeoffs of uncollectible accounts.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should consider using the death data maintained by other federal agencies to identify deceased beneficiaries and whether it would be cost-beneficial to require beneficiaries periodically to furnish proof of their existence.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should identify ineligible disability beneficiaries by regularly matching data with the Department of Labor and flagging names of those individuals with schedule awards.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should identify federal agencies that submit erroneous certifications of retirement deductions and inform officials at those agencies of the deficiencies so that they may take corrective action.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should develop data that classify all overpayments by type of occurrence and use them to identify areas needing improvement.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should develop a debt collection system that enables it to identify all delinquent accounts.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should develop a debt collection system that enables it to bill debtors promptly.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

 

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