Department of Labor:

Status of Y2K Remediation of Workers' Compensation Systems

AIMD-98-207R: Published: Jul 29, 1998. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 1998.

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Joel C. Willemssen
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the efforts made by the Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) to address the year 2000 computing challenges facing its three workers' compensation programs, administered under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, and Black Lung Benefits Act.

GAO noted that: (1) the Division of Federal Employees' Compensation has taken some action to prepare the Federal Employees Compensation System (FECS) for the year 2000; (2) key awareness activities have included promoting the year 2000 issue, developing a year 2000 strategy, and appointing a year 2000 program manager; (3) during assessment, the division determined that the interface between the FECS mainframe and the division's network was year 2000 compliant, but that many of the FECS mainframe subsystem applications were not compliant and were in need of renovation; (4) the division also determined that the mainframe computer's operating system, and the Common Business Oriented Language compiler, were not year 2000 compliant; (5) during GAO's visit to the contractor-operated mainframe facility, GAO was told that both the operating system and compiler had recently been upgraded to vendor-certified compliant versions; (6) year 2000 renovations to the applications were in process and the FECS system renovation is scheduled to be completed in August 1998; (7) the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation has taken action to prepare its two mission-critical systems--the Longshore Special Fund System and the Longshore Case Management System--for the year 2000; (8) GAO verified through observation and limited testing that both of the division's mission-critical systems were in need of repair; (9) the division prioritized renovation activities by first renovating its Special Fund System and next initiating repairs to its Case Management System; (10) the Special Fund System was recently implemented, while the Case Management System is scheduled to be tested later this year, with implementation scheduled for December 1998; (11) the Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation until recently had not developed an effective year 2000 strategy for its one mission-critical system--the Automated Support Package (ASP); (12) to meet year 2000 compliance schedule requirements, the division decided to modify its approach and develop a new strategy; (13) under the new strategy, the division will continue to develop its replacement system, but the existing ASP will also be repaired and implemented by March 1999; (14) none of the three OWCP workers' compensation offices have developed business continuity and contingency plans, and were only required to do so by Labor if their systems repair work fell behind schedule; and (15) Labor was responsive to GAO's concerns, and it subsequently revised its contingency planning strategy.

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