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U.S. Senator Calling for Investigation of Federal Work Comp System

A United States Senator is calling upon a federal agency to launch a comprehensive investigation into whether the federal workers' compensation system is being illegally depleted by vast occurrences of employee fraud.

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) is asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate whether federal employees who have reached retirement age are receiving illicit work comp benefits under the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA).

"I am increasingly concerned that individuals with no intention of returning to work continue to receive these benefits," said Senator Collins. "At the U.S. Postal Service, for example, 1,000 employees currently receiving federal workers' compensation benefits are 80 years or older. Incredibly, 132 of these individuals are 90 and older and there are three who are 98."

"This abuse may extend across the government where the Department of Labor regularly pays benefits to employees in their 70s, 80s, 90s, and even 100s. The lack of benefit caps and requirements for regular third-party certifications of continued need further expose the FECA program to possible fraud. If recipients are gaming this crucial benefit at taxpayers' expense, they must be exposed and the underlying program must be reformed."

Specifically, Senator Collins requested the GAO to do the following:

  • Conduct an exhaustive FECA audit, including a report on the number of work comp recipients who exceed the standard federal retirement age
  • Compare and contrast the federal system of workers' compensation with the workers' compensation best practices of the individual states
  • Search both the Death Master File and the civilian payroll database for deceased individuals receiving benefits or recipients who are "double dipping"

Currently, FECA provides work comp benefits to roughly 49,000 federal employees. Unfortunately, the fact that these benefits are substantially more generous than retirement benefits (75% of gross pay, tax-free v. roughly 50% of former pay, taxed) may be leading to more instances of workers compensation fraud by federal employees.

Stay tuned for further developments ...

Workers compensation fraud/employee fraud is a very serious crime. If you suspect that such a crime has been perpetrated against your organization, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced workers' comp defense attorney.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

Federal Retirees Shouldn't Be Getting Workers' Comp, Senator Says (The Washington Post)

Senator Collins Shines Light on Federal Workers' Comp Waste (Office of United States Senator Susan Collins)

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