THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
CONTROLS OVER THE FLEXIPLACE
PROGRAM AND PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE
INFORMATION AT HEARING OFFICES
By conducting independent and objective audits, evaluations and investigations, we inspire public confidence in the integrity and security of SSA’s programs and operations and protect them against fraud, waste and abuse. We provide timely, useful and reliable information and advice to Administration officials, Congress and the public.
The Inspector General Act created independent audit and investigative units, called the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The mission of the OIG, as spelled out in the Act, is to:
Conduct and supervise independent and objective audits and investigations relating to agency programs and operations.
Promote economy, effectiveness, and efficiency within the agency.
Prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse in agency programs and operations.
Review and make recommendations regarding existing and proposed legislation and regulations relating to agency programs and operations.
Keep the agency head and the Congress fully and currently informed of problems in agency programs and operations.
To ensure objectivity, the IG Act empowers the IG with:
Independence to determine what reviews to perform.
Access to all information necessary for the reviews.
Authority to publish findings and recommendations based on the reviews.
We strive for continual improvement in SSA’s programs, operations and management by proactively seeking new ways to prevent and deter fraud, waste and abuse. We commit to integrity and excellence by supporting an environment that provides a valuable public service while encouraging employee development and retention and fostering diversity and innovation.
Date: June 9, 2010 Refer To:
To: The Commissioner
From: Inspector General
Subject: Controls over the Flexiplace Program and Personally Identifiable Information at Hearing Offices (A-08-09-19079)
Our objective was to assess controls over the Flexiplace program (Flexiplace), including personally identifiable information (PII), at Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) hearing offices.
ODAR’s hearing offices conduct due-process hearings and issue decisions on appealed determinations involving Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. ODAR employs over 1,300 administrative law judges (ALJ) and more than 6,000 support staff, which includes attorney advisors, paralegals, and legal assistants. Among other duties, ODAR support staff conducts initial case screening/preparation and pre hearing case analysis, develops additional evidence, and prepares notices and decisions for claimants.
Negotiated agreements between the Social Security Administration (SSA) and its unions established Flexiplace for ODAR bargaining unit employees. Flexiplace allows qualified hearing office staff to perform assigned work at a management approved alternate duty station (ADS), which is typically their personal residence. As such, employees who participate in Flexiplace take claimants’ case files to their ADS. These case files can be in paper form or stored on portable devices, such as compact discs (CD) and laptop computers, and generally include claimants’ PII—Social Security numbers (SSN), names, addresses, earnings information, and medical histories. According to an ODAR survey, approximately 2,037 (29 percent) of its 6,992 employees worked Flexiplace at least 1 day per week in Calendar Year 2008.
SSA requires that employees who participate in Flexiplace sign, and abide by, the negotiated Flexiplace Program Agreement. While Flexiplace Program Agreements vary depending on the union and/or job position, they share certain basic requirements. For example, SSA requires that Flexiplace employees adhere to all applicable Agency policies and procedures. As such, SSA holds Flexiplace employees accountable for safeguarding Agency records and any PII in their possession.
To accomplish our objective, we selected 20 hearing offices. At each office, we randomly selected and interviewed hearing office employees who participated in Flexiplace in Calendar Year 2008 as well as group supervisors. We also interviewed each office’s director and chief ALJ. In total, we interviewed 135 hearing office employees and 75 managerial staff. The scope of our review involved ODAR employees working Flexiplace. Therefore, we did not examine ODAR practices for employees who remove case files to temporary duty sites, such as remote hearing locations. See Appendix B for additional information on our scope and methodology.
RESULTS OF REVIEW
While SSA had implemented some preventative measures to safeguard PII removed from its premises, we determined ODAR practices may have exposed claimant data to unauthorized disclosure. For example, ODAR allowed employees to remove PII stored on unencrypted CDs. In addition, ODAR employees did not always comply with SSA’s preventative controls, such as locking claimant PII, when traveling to, or working at, an ADS. We also determined that ODAR did not always identify the removal, and confirm the return, of PII. We believe ODAR should identify opportunities to better monitor employee compliance and strengthen Flexiplace controls, where practicable.
According to most ODAR employees we interviewed, SSA’s Flexiplace program has had a positive impact on their morale or helped them work more effectively at home because of fewer interruptions. While we are pleased to report these results, we also recognize there are inherent risks in the Flexiplace program because some vulnerabilities are outside SSA’s control. That is, SSA has limited ability to control or detect how employees transport, store, or use PII when they work Flexiplace. As such, the Agency is at risk for unauthorized disclosure or intentional misuse of claimant PII and must weigh risks against costs and benefits before implementing additional controls.
ODAR’S PRACTICES DID NOT ADEQUATELY SAFEGUARD CLAIMANT DATA REMOVED FOR FLEXIPLACE
ODAR’s practices over PII did not properly protect claimant data that Flexiplace employees removed. For example, ODAR management at 17 (85 percent) of the 20 hearing offices we visited allowed Flexiplace employees to remove electronic PII that was stored on unencrypted CDs. As long as employees placed claimants’ electronic data in a locked container, ODAR considered the employees to be taking proper steps to secure PII. However, we do not believe such controls are sufficient because PII remains vulnerable to unauthorized disclosure when it is “secured” in such ways.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires that Federal agencies encrypt all data on mobile computers/devices, unless the data are not sensitive. To address OMB’s requirement, SSA implemented a policy that requires employees use Agency approved encrypted or password protected electronic devices when PII is removed in electronic form. If device encryption is not possible, SSA requires that employees encrypt or password protect the electronic files. However, the Agency’s current encryption process is incompatible with the computer application ODAR uses for electronic claimant records. In addition, ODAR staff we interviewed told us they could not password protect electronic files saved to CDs. While SSA is working on an encryption solution for ODAR, we believe ODAR needs to adequately safeguard claimants’ electronic data by requiring that employees save PII to an encrypted and password protected laptop—at least until the Agency implements a complete encryption solution.
We realize storing electronic PII on password protected laptops will not diminish all risks in the Flexiplace program. However, three hearing offices we visited recognized the vulnerability of employees removing PII on unencrypted CDs and no longer allow employees to remove CDs for Flexiplace.
FLEXIPLACE EMPLOYEES DID NOT ALWAYS COMPLY WITH AGENCY POLICIES WHEN REMOVING PII FROM THE WORKPLACE
ODAR employees did not always adequately secure or properly safeguard PII when working Flexiplace. While SSA has limited capabilities to reduce inherent risks in Flexiplace, it has implemented policies and directives to minimize the opportunity for unauthorized disclosure. For example, SSA requires that employees make every reasonable effort to secure and lock PII and electronic devices during transport and at their ADS. SSA also requires that employees self report the disposal of PII at their ADS to their managers. Managers must then ensure these employees destroyed PII in an SSA approved manner.
We determined that 5 (about 4 percent) of the 135 hearing office employees interviewed placed case file information, which contained PII, in an unlocked case or envelope when traveling. We also learned that employees did not always secure PII while at their ADS. For instance, employees told us they placed PII in a travel bag, bookcase, or in their basement instead of locking it in a drawer or cabinet. In fact, 5 (about 4 percent) of the 135 employees we interviewed believed that “locking the house” was adequate protection. Moreover, we learned that an employee left claimant files containing PII in a car overnight. Later, he discovered that someone had broken into his garage and stolen his car. Fortunately, the car and files were recovered, and it appeared there was no disclosure of sensitive data. Additionally, we learned that four employees shredded documents or CDs that contained PII at their ADS, but their managers had not approved the disposals.
We recognize that SSA’s PII policies and procedures can only be effective if employees strictly adhere to them. Further, we believe it is SSA’s responsibility to protect claimants’ PII, to the maximum extent possible, from unauthorized disclosure. Accordingly, SSA should reemphasize to its employees the importance of understanding and following all PII policies and directives. In addition, SSA should take disciplinary action, such as suspending Flexiplace, for those employees who do not comply with its PII requirements.
ODAR COULD STRENGTHEN CONTROLS FOR TRACKING PII REMOVED FOR FLEXIPLACE
While Agency policy requires that management closely monitor employee removal of PII from its premises, we do not believe ODAR’s practice always confirmed Flexiplace employees’ removal and return of PII. SSA requires that management maintain a tracking log to identify PII that employees take to an ADS. ODAR’s logs generally include the employee’s name, claimant’s name and SSN, reason for the PII removal, and dates removed and returned. However, most hearing offices we visited did not track the type of medium containing PII that employees removed. In addition, instead of physically confirming that employees returned PII—that is, their CDs, laptops, or paper files—ODAR managers often relied on employees’ completed log sheets or case status in its Case Processing and Management System.
We believe ODAR has the opportunity to strengthen its controls for tracking PII. In fact, we determined that one hearing office’s group supervisor accounted for electronic PII his employees removed. The group supervisor told us he personally provided CDs to Flexiplace employees and required that they bring the CDs to him upon their return to work.
We recommend that SSA consider establishing additional procedures to identify and account for media that ODAR employees take to their ADS. For example, ODAR’s tracking log could include the type of medium removed. In addition, ODAR managers could verify that Flexiplace employees physically returned the medium containing the PII.
SSA SHOULD SEEK OPPORTUNITIES TO BETTER MONITOR ODAR EMPLOYEES’ COMPLIANCE WITH PII REQUIREMENTS
We believe SSA should improve monitoring of ODAR employees’ compliance with Flexiplace requirements and seek opportunities to reduce risks of unauthorized disclosure of PII. For example, SSA could require that ODAR periodically verify that Flexiplace employees place claimant files in a locked container before they travel to an ADS. SSA could also determine whether deterrent controls, such as ADS inspections, would enhance ODAR employees’ compliance. Although inspecting ADSs cannot assure SSA that ODAR employees will properly secure claimant PII when at their ADS, it will confirm their ADS is equipped with a lockable device. During our review, we found that 11 (55 percent) of the 20 hearing offices we visited inspected employees’ ADSs.
Employee transportation and storage of claimant data for Flexiplace presents unique challenges—and additional controls will not diminish all risks related to unauthorized disclosure or intentional misuse of claimant PII. However, we believe the Agency should seek opportunities to reduce risks and implement compensating controls. In addition, ODAR should take disciplinary action, such as suspending Flexiplace, for those employees who do not comply with SSA’s PII requirements.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
SSA faces a unique challenge in safeguarding and monitoring sensitive data ODAR employees remove while working Flexiplace. Although SSA implemented certain policies and directives to protect claimant PII removed from its premises, these controls can only be effective if they are adequate and employees comply. We recognize SSA’s efforts cannot eliminate all risks. Nonetheless, we believe SSA has a stewardship responsibility to minimize security risks inherent in the Flexiplace program, when feasible, and ensure employee compliance with all PII policies and directives.
Accordingly, we recommend that SSA:
1. Require that ODAR employees store electronic PII on an encrypted and password protected laptop when working Flexiplace, until such time as a CD encryption solution for ODAR is developed.
2. Reemphasize to ODAR employees the importance of complying with all Agency PII policies and directives.
3. Consider implementing additional procedures to account for the removal and return of PII.
4. Improve monitoring of ODAR employees’ compliance with Flexiplace requirements. In addition, ODAR should take disciplinary action, such as suspending Flexiplace, for those employees who do not comply.
SSA generally agreed with our recommendations. The Agency’s comments are included in Appendix C.
Hearing Office Management Needs to Improve Its Maintenance of SSA’s 7 B Employee Record Extension Files
We determined that hearing office management did not always comply with Agency policy regarding SSA’s 7 B Employee Record Extension File (7 B File) for staff. SSA policy requires that supervisors maintain a 7 B File for each employee. Employee 7 B Files should include approved Flexiplace Requests, performance appraisals, and employee signed annual acknowledgment statements on Systems Sanctions and Safeguarding PII.
During our review, hearing office management could not locate one employee’s 7 B File, while others’ 7 B Files were incomplete. We also identified 66 incidences where management either did not retain or did not ensure that employees’ current Systems Sanctions and Safeguarding PII acknowledgment statements were in their respective 7 B Files. Additionally, three employees’ 7 B Files did not contain their performance appraisals. Moreover, hearing office management did not always retain employees’ Flexiplace Agreements or their Agreements were incomplete.
We encourage SSA to take steps to ensure that management properly maintains employees’ 7 B Files.
Hearing Office Managers Were Unclear on Retention Period for PII Logs
It appears that hearing office managers were unclear on how long they should retain PII logs. Policy requires that management retain PII logs for 2 years. However, in the
event of PII loss, policy further instructs management to store the logs and information pertaining to the loss, such as the incident report and the Change, Asset, and Problem Reporting System number, for 7 years.
Management at 3 (15 percent) of the 20 hearing offices we visited told us they stored PII logs fewer than 2 years. In fact, one hearing office director told us his office did not maintain a log any longer than what is needed to confirm the file has been returned. He further stated that the office did not maintain PII logs for ALJs.
To ensure the Agency can properly track PII that Flexiplace employees remove, we believe it is important that management maintain PII tracking logs on all who participate in Flexiplace for the time period required. Therefore, we encourage SSA to clarify the retention period for PII logs with hearing office managers.
Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr.
APPENDIX A – Acronyms
APPENDIX B – Scope and Methodology
APPENDIX C – Agency Comments
APPENDIX D – OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
7 B File 7 B Employee Record Extension File
ADS Alternate Duty Station
ALJ Administrative Law Judge
CD Compact Disc
Flexiplace Flexiplace Program
ODAR Office of Disability Adjudication and Review
OIG Office of the Inspector General
OMB Office of Management and Budget
PII Personally Identifiable Information
SSA Social Security Administration
SSN Social Security Number
Scope and Methodology
To accomplish our objective, we:
• Reviewed pertinent sections of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) policies and procedures pertaining to the Flexiplace program (Flexiplace) and safeguarding personally identifiable information (PII).
• Identified the two hearing offices in each region with the highest percentage of Flexiplace participation in Calendar Year 2008 for our site visits. The hearing offices we visited are shown in Table B-1.
Table B-1: Hearing Offices Visited by Region
Hearing Office Location
1 I New Haven, Connecticut
2 Portland, Maine
3 II Voorhees, New Jersey
4 Newark, New Jersey
5 III Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
6 Seven Fields, Pennsylvania
7 IV Birmingham, Alabama
8 Paducah, Kentucky
9 V Detroit, Michigan
10 Oak Park, Michigan
11 VI Fort Worth, Texas
12 Dallas North, Texas
13 VII Creve Coeur, Missouri
14 Kansas City, Missouri
15 VIII Fargo, North Dakota
16 Billings, Montana
17 IX Stockton, California
18 Phoenix, Arizona
19 X Seattle, Washington
20 Spokane, Washington
• Randomly selected two employees per position to interview, if there were at least two employees in that position who participated in Flexiplace. We also randomly selected two group supervisors to interview, if there were at least two in the position. We also interviewed hearing office directors and chief administrative law judges (ALJ), provided there was one. Table B-2 provides the number of hearing office employees and management we interviewed. One ALJ declined to participate in our review.
Table B-2: Employees Interviewed Per Position
Position Number of Employees Interviewed
Attorney Advisor 35
Legal Assistant 38
Total Employees 135
Group Supervisor 36
Hearing Office Chief ALJ 19
Hearing Office Director 20
Total Management 75
GRAND TOTAL 210
• For each employee interviewed, we examined his/her SSA 7-B Employee Record Extension File to identify whether management retained employees’ annual acknowledgment statements and Flexiplace documents.
Our review of internal controls was limited to SSA’s policies and directives for protecting PII and documenting Flexiplace requests and approvals. We performed our audit at the Office of Audit in Birmingham, Alabama, and selected hearing offices. The data were sufficiently reliable to meet our objective.
The SSA entity audited was the Office of the Chief ALJ under the Deputy Commissioner for ODAR. We conducted this performance audit from May through December 2009 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objective. We believe the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objective.
Date: May 24, 2010 Refer
To: Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr.
From: James A. Winn /s/
Executive Counselor to the Commissioner
Subject: Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Draft Report, “Controls Over the Flexiplace Program and Personally Identifiable Information at Hearing Offices” (A-08-09-19079)
Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the draft report. We appreciate OIG’s efforts in conducting this review. Attached is our response to the report findings and recommendations.
Please let me know if we can be of further assistance. You may direct staff inquiries to
Candace Skurnik, Director, Audit Management and Liaison Staff, at (410) 965-4636.
COMMENTS ON THE OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL (OIG) DRAFT REPORT, “CONTROLS OVER THE FLEXIPLACE PROGRAM AND PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION (PII) AT HEARING OFFICES” (A-08-09-19079)
We generally agree with the reported findings and recommendations.
Recently, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) launched a multi-pronged strategy on PII loss prevention. Specifically, ODAR’s Deputy Commissioner personally issued clear PII loss prevention guidance to all ODAR employees and conducted national teleconferences, including calls to over 570 Information Technology (IT) staff and managers, all Regional Chief Administrative Law Judges (ALJ), and an all-manager call with over
650 managers. ODAR also kicked-off a national PII loss prevention workgroup to quickly review and revise our loss prevention procedures and policies and to establish standard penalties for employee and contractor PII loss.
Additionally, ODAR plans to reemphasize the importance of management accountability. For example, ODAR is developing and will soon issue a certification form for all managers to sign, acknowledging that: 1) all personal drives have been examined for PII and that extraneous information has been purged, 2) all employees have a signed and current copy of the Annual Reminder on Safeguarding Personally Identifiable Information (PII) for SSA Employees on file, and, 3) when applicable, all employees have current, signed flexiplace agreements in their
7B file. Also, ODAR’s Systems Security Branch, in conjunction with the agency’s Office of Human Resources, is developing a stronger PII element for managers’ performance plans. This stronger performance element will hold mangers more accountable for protecting PII.
ODAR’s managers also regularly exchange PII protection information and best practices. For example, ODAR’s Component Security Officer (CSO) chairs a monthly ODAR Security Roundtable meeting which allows Headquarters Security Specialists, the Division of Electronic Services, the Division of Information Technology Integration, Regional Supervisory Information Technology Specialists, and Regional Systems Administrators to exchange information that will enable them to better protect our claimants’ PII. Actions from these meetings often include communicating information to regional managers and/or employees.
Finally, ODAR’s Systems Security Branch and CSO actively participate in a variety of agency-wide initiatives with the Chief Information Officer’s (CIO) PII staff, which include communicating SSA policy to all agency employees. Current initiatives include mandatory PII awareness training and a poster campaign to promote PII awareness.
Our responses to the specific recommendations are as follows:
We recommend that SSA require that ODAR employees store electronic PII on an encrypted and password-protected laptop when working flexiplace, until such time as a compact disc (CD) encryption solution for ODAR is developed.
We agree with the first part of your recommendation concerning laptops. We now have an adequate stock of agency-issued, encrypted, password-protected laptops available to employees working flexiplace, and we transfer electronic PII to those laptops for use at employees’ alternative duty stations (ADS). As for the second part of your recommendation, we no longer need to develop a “CD encryption solution.” We store electronic PII only on approved laptops and no longer remove CDs from the office for flexiplace purposes.
We are taking actions along these lines to protect PII and to phase in a new process. Specifically, we are:
• Reissuing PII policy guidance to reiterate our existing policy that all employees participating in flexiplace must transport electronic PII between the office and their ADS on agency-issued, encrypted, and password-protected laptops.
• Implementing the portable workstation process (PWP) which allows our employees to use their approved laptops as their in-office workstations while connected to our network. While in the office, employees who have PWP download the files they require for flexiplace directly from the network to their laptops. Employees then use those laptops during flexiplace and upload the work that they performed on flexiplace to the network upon their return to the office.
• We have started issuing new laptops with the PWP software, and some employees are using PWP for flexiplace. Until we deploy PWP in all ODAR offices, flexiplace employees who do not have PWP will follow a work-around process and transfer claimants’ electronic files to agency-issued, encrypted, and password-protected Universal Serial Bus (USB) flash drives. While still in the office, they will then transfer the files from the flash drive to their approved encrypted, password-protected laptops. We will secure the USB flash drives in our offices, and they will not leave the premises.
We recommend that SSA reemphasize to ODAR employees the importance of complying with all Agency PII policies and directives.
We agree and are taking a number of steps on this front, starting with management accountability. We are developing and will soon issue a certification form that all managers must sign, wherein they acknowledge that:
• All personal drives have been examined for PII and extraneous information has been purged;
• All employees have a signed, current copy of the Annual Reminder on Safeguarding Personally Identifiable Information (PII) for SSA Employees in their 7-B files, and
• Where applicable, all employees have current, signed flexiplace agreements in their
Also, ODAR is developing a stronger PII element for managers’ performance plans.
In 2007, we implemented the Annual Reminder on Safeguarding Personally Identifiable Information (PII) for SSA Employees. We are reemphasizing that employees review and understand that document as well as the Agency Policy for Systems Access. In addition, ODAR’s Systems Security Branch, CSO, and/or Regional Security IT Specialists provide PII security awareness training to all new ODAR employees and managers to ensure that they understand their responsibilities for protecting PII.
We are also taking other actions to raise awareness and protect PII. Specifically, ODAR’s Deputy Commissioner personally issued strict PII loss prevention guidance to all ODAR employees. He conducted national teleconferences with more than 570 IT employees and managers and all Regional Chief ALJs. He also held an “all-managers” call with over
650 participants. In addition, ODAR is leading an effort on PII loss prevention to review and revise its loss prevention procedures and policies and to establish standard penalties for employees who lose PII or fail to adhere to agency PII protection policies.
ODAR’s managers also regularly exchange PII protection information and best practices. For example, ODAR’s CSO chairs a monthly “ODAR Security Roundtable” where key players exchange information to promote better protection of PII; they then communicate this information to regional managers and employees. ODAR also works with other agency components on PII issues. For example, it collaborates with the CIO on a variety of initiatives to raise PII awareness among all agency employees. This includes an initiative for mandatory PII training and a poster campaign to promote PII protection.
We recommend that SSA consider implementing additional procedures to account for the removal and return of PII.
We agree and are improving our controls over the removal and return of PII. We have reemphasized to ODAR managers their responsibilities in this area and have instructed them to modify their logs to include all types of media. This includes paper files (paper is still used to a great extent) and laptops containing PII. As noted under recommendation one, we no longer remove from the office CDs, flash drives, or other types of electronic media for flexiplace purposes.
We are making further strides in this area. For example, ODAR’s Division of Security meets regularly to explore other options for improvements and in coming months will be taking other actions such as issuing new logging procedures. We recognize that procedures must be followed consistently, and ODAR is developing business processes to promote that consistency.
We recommend that SSA improve monitoring of ODAR employees’ compliance with flexiplace requirements. In addition, ODAR should take disciplinary action, such as suspending flexiplace, for those employees who do not comply.
We agree and have directed our managers to focus their attention on this important task. We are also stressing personal accountability to the employees themselves who participate in flexiplace. In addition, while we already are spot checking flexiplace ADSs, we will examine and revise procedures and adopt a more systematic approach for those efforts. This will include spot checks of employees transporting PII and on-site reviews of ADSs.
As for the disciplinary action you suggest, we already progressively discipline (reprimand, suspension, and removal) employees who do not comply with policies for safeguarding PII. We are developing standard penalties and guidance to more effectively utilize that option where situations warrant. Also, as we note in our comments for recommendation two, we have PII loss prevention managers meetings where we review policies and consider disciplinary actions for situations where an employee looses PII.
Hearing Office Management Needs to Improve Its Maintenance of SSA’s 7-B Employee Record Extension Files
We agree. We are reissuing guidelines to ODAR managers and directing them to review employees’ 7-B files and certify that each contains the appropriate material. We will complete this by June 30, 2010.
Hearing Office Managers Were Unclear on Retention Period for PII Logs
The ODAR CSO is working with hearing office representatives to review the entire PII logging process, including the procedures for logging PII for flexiplace, PII logs for ALJs, and log retention. Once complete, we will issue updated guidelines to all affected ODAR employees and managers.
OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
Kimberly Byrd, Director
Theresa Roberts, Audit Manager
In addition to those named above:
Janet Matlock, Senior Auditor
For additional copies of this report, please visit our web site at www.socialsecurity.gov/oig or contact the Office of the Inspector General’s Public Affairs Staff Assistant at (410) 965-4518. Refer to Common Identification Number
Commissioner of Social Security
Office of Management and Budget, Income Maintenance Branch
Chairman and Ranking Member, Committee on Ways and Means
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Social Security Advisory Board
Overview of the Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is comprised of an Office of Audit (OA), Office of Investigations (OI), Office of the Counsel to the Inspector General (OCIG), Office of External Relations (OER), and Office of Technology and Resource Management (OTRM). To ensure compliance with policies and procedures, internal controls, and professional standards, the OIG also has a comprehensive Professional Responsibility and Quality Assurance program.
Office of Audit
OA conducts financial and performance audits of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) programs and operations and makes recommendations to ensure program objectives are achieved effectively and efficiently. Financial audits assess whether SSA’s financial statements fairly present SSA’s financial position, results of operations, and cash flow. Performance audits review the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of SSA’s programs and operations. OA also conducts short-term management reviews and program evaluations on issues of concern to SSA, Congress, and the general public.
Office of Investigations
OI conducts investigations related to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in SSA programs and operations. This includes wrongdoing by applicants, beneficiaries, contractors, third parties, or SSA employees performing their official duties. This office serves as liaison to the Department of Justice on all matters relating to the investigation of SSA programs and personnel. OI also conducts joint investigations with other Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies.
Office of the Counsel to the Inspector General
OCIG provides independent legal advice and counsel to the IG on various matters, including statutes, regulations, legislation, and policy directives. OCIG also advises the IG on investigative procedures and techniques, as well as on legal implications and conclusions to be drawn from audit and investigative material. Also, OCIG administers the Civil Monetary Penalty program.
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Office of Technology and Resource Management
OTRM supports OIG by providing information management and systems security. OTRM also coordinates OIG’s budget, procurement, telecommunications, facilities, and human resources. In addition, OTRM is the focal point for OIG’s strategic planning function, and the development and monitoring of performance measures. In addition, OTRM receives and assigns for action allegations of criminal and administrative violations of Social Security laws, identifies fugitives receiving benefit payments from SSA, and provides technological assistance to investigations.