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    Subject Term: "Federal benefits"

    2 publications with a total of 19 open recommendations
    Director: Daniel Bertoni
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As part of initiatives currently under way to improve agency information on claims with appointed representatives and detect potential fraud associated with representatives, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should consider actions to provide more timely access to data on representatives and enhance mechanisms for identifying and monitoring trends and patterns related to representation, particularly trends that may present risks to program integrity. Specifically, SSA could (1) Identify additional data elements, or amendments to current data collection efforts, to improve information on all appointed representatives, including those under contract with states and other third parties; (2) Implement necessary policy changes to ensure these data are collected. This could include enhancing technical systems needed to finalize SSA's 2008 proposed rules that would recognize organizations as representatives; and (3) Establish mechanisms for routine data extracts and reports on claims with representatives.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, SSA reported that it is approaching the conclusion of the first phase of a new initiative, called Registration, Appointment and Services for Representatives (RASR). This initiative aims to register all appointed representatives and improve relevant business processes and data collection. SSA reported that it had to postpone the first release of RASR, originally targeted for December 2016, due to some systems issues. SSA stated that it has not yet set a new target date for the first release. SSA stated that this new application will enhance data collection and management of representatives' information and that it will help make strides toward better oversight and improved data analysis and reporting. We will consider closing this recommendation when these efforts are completed.
    Recommendation: To address risks associated with potential overpayments to representatives and protect claimant benefits, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take steps to enhance coordination with states, counties, and other third parties with the goal of improving oversight and preventing and identifying potential overpayments. This coordination could be conducted in a cost-effective manner, such as issuing guidance to states and other third parties on vulnerabilities for overpayment; sharing best practices on how to prevent overpayments; or considering the costs and benefits, including any privacy and security concerns, of providing third parties controlled access to portions of the eFolder to facilitate the detection of potential overpayments.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, SSA stated that it added a section to a new form--Form SSA-1698, Fee Agreement for Representation before the Social Security Administration--that claimants and representatives can use to enter into fee agreements. According to SSA, this form requires the disclosure of fees that the representative will receive from a third party and the amount of those fees. SSA expects this form to be in use upon OMB approval. Similar language already exists in another form--Form SSA-1560-U4, Petition to Obtain Approval of a Fee for Representing a Claimant before the Social Security Administration--that claimants and representatives can use for fee petitions. SSA stated that these forms are (and will be) included in the folder of evidence that adjudicators may review before determining whether and how much to authorize in fees. According to SSA, disclosure and approval of any third party fees, with potential adjustment of the fee, by both the claimant and SSA should help prevent excessive fees. While the proposed change to the form may help improve transparency of fee arrangements, the potential for a representative to receive a payment from SSA and also receive a payment from a state or other third party still exists. Unless SSA and the state or other third party share information on their payments or have policies and procedures in place to prevent such cases, representatives could still receive both SSA and state payments that total more than the SSA-authorized fee. In order to address this vulnerability, we continue to believe that SSA should enhance coordination or issue guidance to states and other third parties about this vulnerability, which could include SSA sharing best practices for preventing these types of overpayments. For example, one state requires contracted organizations to submit copies of their signed form 1696 (Appointment of Representative) so the state could verify the representative checked the appropriate box for payment.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    17 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should revise guidance on computer matching to clarify whether front-end verification queries are covered by the Computer Matching Act.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should direct agencies to address all key elements when preparing cost-benefit analyses.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should ensure that agencies receive assistance in implementing computer matching programs as envisioned by the act.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on the agency's computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Education should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education stated that it has already developed policies and procedures for preparing cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements (CMA). The agency believes these analyses already incorporate the appropriate key elements, although it continues to reexamine them in the interest of continuous improvement. ED also noted that not all key elements apply to every computer matching program. For example, the agency did not think it appropriate to address the recovery of improper payments and debts for matching programs to establish eligibility. However, we believe all key elements should be addressed in cost benefit analyses, even if only to note that certain types of benefits have been considered and determined not to be applicable in the specific circumstances of a given computer matching program. Without a thorough assessment, the Data Integrity Board may not have sufficient information to determine whether a thorough cost analysis has been conducted. In 2017, the agency provided three cost benefit analyses from recent CMAs that include personnel and computer costs.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information needed to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Administrator of Social Security should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.