Federal Employees' Compensation Act: Internal Control Weaknesses Limit Effective Case Management and Program Oversight

OIG-14-2: Sep 30, 2014

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Contact:

Office of Inspector General
Tonya R. Ford
(202) 512-5748
oig@gao.gov

Objective

This is a publication by GAO's Inspector General that concerns internal GAO operations. This report addresses the extent to which GAO has effectively managed its FECA program to ensure that it pays only valid claims for continuation of benefits, and that employees are returned to work when able.

What OIG Found

GAO has not effectively managed its FECA program to ensure that it pays only valid claims for continuation of benefits, and employees are returned to work when able. Information documenting eligibility of employees receiving benefits is generally outdated and not maintained. In addition, efforts to identify employees for reemployment and pursue options to return them to suitable work are limited. Third-party cases are not monitored to minimize GAO's workers' compensation program costs. Furthermore, policy intended to prevent, identify, and report potential fraud for investigation lacks specific fraud-prevention controls and is outdated.

What OIG Recommends

OIG recommends that the Comptroller General direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to immediately develop and implement: operational procedures that include specific case documentation procedures to be followed by HCO case management specialists; clearly defined procedures that establish a framework and delineate responsibilities within GAO for identifying candidates for reemployment and developing reemployment strategies that foster improved return-to-work outcomes; and policy and procedures addressing the responsibilities of GAO employees and management in identifying and reporting potential thirdparty liability claims. To help reduce the risk of and identify potential fraud within GAO's program, OIG recommends establishing specific workers' compensation fraud-prevention controls. In addition, OIG recommends updating the existing workers' compensation policy to reflect current GAO policy requiring all GAO officers and employees to promptly notify the GAO OIG concerning the possible existence of FECA program fraud, waste, and abuse. GAO agreed with OIG's recommendations and stated that the agency intended to act on them. However, GAO disagreed with some of the characterizations in the draft report.

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