Federal Workforce:

Federal Employees' Compensation Act Cost Growth and Workplace Safety

GGD-89-4: Published: Oct 20, 1988. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Labor's (DOL) Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) Program to: (1) determine the real growth in FECA costs after adjusting for inflation; (2) describe federal agencies' efforts to control program costs; and (3) identify the trend in federal workplace safety.

GAO found that: (1) from 1979 to 1987, annual FECA costs increased from about $603 million to $1,070 million, but increased from $603 million to $682 million when adjusted for inflation; and (2) DOL believed that its reduction of backlog cases caused the real increase in FECA costs. GAO also found that federal agencies used many methods to contain program costs, including: (1) revising regulations to allow for suspending or terminating continuation of pay under certain circumstances; (2) rehabilitating FECA beneficiaries so they could return to gainful employment; (3) making computer matches with retirement system records to identify ineligible FECA beneficiaries; (4) rehiring employees who were receiving compensation payments; (5) distributing FECA costs back to the lowest management level possible for greater accountability; (6) monitoring continuation of pay; and (7) making the workplace safer. In addition, GAO found that, from 1979 to 1987, the incidence of work-related injuries and disabilities in the federal workplace declined about 32 percent.

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