Date: September 30, 2010 Refer To:
To: The Commissioner
From: Inspector General
Subject: The Social Security Administration’s Plan to Reduce Improper Payments Under Executive Order 13520 (A-15-10-20163)
The attached final quick response evaluation presents the results of our review. Our objectives were to review the Accountable Official’s Annual Report to the Office of the Inspector General, as required by Executive Order 13520, Reducing Improper Payments, and determine whether the (1) figures presented were accurate and
(2) Agency complied with all requirements of the Executive Order.
If you wish to discuss the final report, please call me or have your staff contact Steven L. Schaeffer, Assistant Inspector General for Audit, at (410) 965-9700.
Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr.
The Social Security Administration’s Plan to Reduce Improper Payments Under Executive Order 13520
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.
Our objectives were to review the Accountable Official’s Annual Report to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), as required by Executive Order 13520, Reducing Improper Payments, and determine whether the (1) figures presented were accurate and
(2) Agency complied with all requirements of the Executive Order.
On November 20, 2009, the President issued Executive Order 13520. When the Government makes payments to individuals and businesses, such as program beneficiaries, grantees, or contractors, or on behalf of program beneficiaries, it must make every effort to confirm that the right recipient is receiving the correct payment. The purpose of this Executive Order is to reduce improper payments by intensifying efforts to eliminate payment error, waste, fraud, and abuse in the major Government-administered programs, while continuing to ensure that Federal programs serve and provide access to their intended beneficiaries.
As part of the requirements of the Executive Order, each agency with a high-priority program identified by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) shall provide the agency’s OIG a report containing the
1. methodology for identifying and measuring improper payments by the agency’s high-priority programs;
2. plan, along with supporting analysis, for meeting the reduction targets for improper payments in the agency’s high-priority programs; and
3. plan, along with supporting analysis, for ensuring the initiatives undertaken pursuant to this order do not unduly burden program access and participation by eligible beneficiaries.
Each agency head is also required to submit to the agency’s OIG and the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) a report on high-dollar improper payments identified by the agency, subject to Federal privacy policies and to the extent permitted by law. Agencies are also required to place a prominently displayed link on their Internet homepages to Internet-based resources for addressing improper payments, including the Website published by the Secretary of the Treasury in coordination with the Attorney General and the Director of OMB.
The Director of OMB will determine high-priority programs annually based on improper payment reporting in agencies’ annual Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) or Agency Financial Report (AFR). OMB will classify a program as high-priority if the program meets the following criteria.
1. It is susceptible to significant improper payments, as defined by legislation and OMB implementing guidance and either:
• Measured and reported errors above the threshold determined by OMB and contributed to the majority of improper payments in the most recent reporting year; or
• Has not reported an improper payment dollar amount in the most recent reporting year but has, in the past, reported errors above the threshold determined by OMB and not received relief from OMB from measuring and reporting; or
• Has not yet reported an overall program improper payment dollar amount, but the aggregate of the measured program’s component errors are above the threshold.
2. For those programs with error amounts close to the threshold, but with error rates below 2 percent of program outlays, agencies may work with OMB to determine whether the program can be exempt from fulfilling certain requirements of the Executive Order.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 threshold was $750 million in improper payments as reported in each agency’s PAR or AFR.
Each year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reports payment accuracy rates for both the Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs based on its stewardship reviews. The Agency used the reviews as the basic measure to report on the accuracy of benefit payments. Each year, SSA reports over- and underpayments from its stewardship reviews of nonmedical aspects of the Retirement and Survivors Insurance (RSI), Disability Insurance (DI), and SSI programs. In accordance with OMB’s guidelines implementing the provisions of the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 (IPIA), SSA reports payments that should not have been made or payments that were made in an incorrect amount as improper. Stewardship review findings provide the basis for reports to Congress and other monitoring authorities. The Agency also used data from these reviews in corrective action planning and in monitoring performance, as required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.
Payment accuracy rates developed in SSA’s stewardship reviews reflect the accuracy of payments issued to RSDI beneficiaries and SSI recipients who received or were issued a payment for the sample month. The Agency selects a statistically valid national sample monthly from the payment rolls, which consist of RSDI and SSI beneficiaries in current pay status. For each sample selected, the recipient or representative payee is interviewed; collateral contacts are made, as needed; and all nonmedical eligibility factors are redeveloped as of the current sample month. The Agency inputs the findings into a national database for analysis and report preparation. Separate rates are determined for accuracy of payments in terms of over- and underpayment dollars.
Results of Review
Overall, our review determined that the Agency generally presented the required information in the Accountable Official’s Annual Report to the OIG under Executive Order 13520 accurately. Specifically, we reviewed the Annual Report to ensure the Agency adequately addressed all requirements of the Executive Order and accurately reported the information.
REQUIREMENTS OF EXECUTIVE ORDER
In March 2010, OMB issued guidance for implementing the requirements of the Executive Order. We reviewed the Accountable Official’s Annual Report, issued on May 18, 2010, to ensure the Agency addressed all requirements of the Executive Order.
Methodology for Identifying and Measuring Improper Payments
The first requirement issued by OMB states that the Annual Report must contain a description of the Agency’s methodology for identifying and measuring improper payments by the Agency’s high-priority programs. This information should include the IPIA program error measurement methodology, sample size, and related calculations, results of annual measurements, and applicable other measurement-related information.
In its Annual Report, SSA described the stewardship reviews that it used to measure the accuracy of payments to beneficiaries in current payment status. Each FY, the Office of Quality Performance (OQP), conducted stewardship reviews of both the RSDI and SSI payments issued in that FY. OQP based the stewardship reviews on a monthly sample selection from the RSDI and SSI recipients in current pay status. Each month, OQP reviewed about 88 RSI cases, 45 DI cases, and 360 SSI cases to determine payment accuracy rates. If OQP detected an error, it determined whether the payment error met the definition of improper (Appendix D). If a program payment was not considered unavoidable, it was included in the projection of improper payment dollars.
The Annual Report presented the payment accuracy results from the stewardship reviews through tables titled, “Improper Payments Experience FY 2006 – FY 2009.” This information, along with the description of the Agency’s methodology for identifying and measuring improper payments for high-priority programs, adequately satisfied OMB’s first requirement.
Plan for Meeting the Reduction Targets for Improper Payments
The second OMB requirement states that the Annual Report must contain the agency’s plan and supporting analysis for meeting the reduction targets for improper payments. This requirement includes
1. root causes of errors in the program;
2. corrective actions that are being implemented and their full implementation dates;
3. the types of errors the corrective actions will address and their expected impact;
4. the anticipated costs of the corrective actions and their likely return on investment; and
5. an explanation of the program’s performance in meeting its reduction targets.
The Agency met this requirement by reporting all applicable information for the RSDI and SSI programs.
On April 22, 2010, SSA confirmed with OMB that the Agency was not required to establish supplemental measures and targets for RSDI because the payment accuracy rate was below OMB’s threshold of 2 percent of program outlays. However, SSA still fulfilled other transparency-related reporting by describing root causes of over- and underpayments.
Based on SSA’s Annual Report, the main root causes of RSDI overpayments were substantial gainful activity (SGA), computations, Government Pension Offset (GPO), and relationship/dependency. The main root causes of RSDI underpayments were computations, wages, self-employment income (SEI), and workers’ compensation. To mitigate these improper payments, SSA identified various areas to analyze for potential reduction in payment errors. These areas included
1. improvements in the work verification process;
2. simplification of the work continuing disability review (CDR) process; and
3. implementation of a quarterly interface match between the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s National Directory of New Hires and SSA’s Master Earnings File (MEF).
The Annual Report also describes the main root causes of SSI error dollar over- and underpayments. The major causes of SSI overpayments were excess financial accounts, wages, and in-kind support and maintenance (ISM). The main causes of SSI underpayments were wages, living arrangement “A,” and ISM. The Agency developed supplemental measures and targets to help mitigate improper payments in the two consistently high error categories: excess financial accounts and wages. These supplemental measures included (1) access to financial institutions (AFI) and (2) SSI Automated Telephone Wage Reporting System (SSITWR).
AFI is an electronic process that verifies bank account balances with financial institutions to determine SSI eligibility. AFI also detects undisclosed accounts by using a geographic search to generate requests to other financial institutions nearest the residence address. As of July 2010, the Agency had implemented AFI in three States: California, New Jersey, and New York. By the end of FY 2010, SSA will expand AFI to 14 additional States. This would represent approximately 65 percent of all SSI recipients. Expansion of AFI will continue into FY 2011, leading to eventual support nationwide. The Agency projects the AFI program will save over $100 million in FY 2011 and up to $1 billion when fully implemented around FY 2013.
SSITWR is a dedicated telephone number that allows individuals to report their wages via a voice-recognition system. Stewardship data indicated that wage-related overpayment dollars resulted from fluctuating income and failure to timely report an increase in wages. To simplify the reporting process, SSA created the SSITWR. In October 2009, SSA required that field offices recruit all recipients, deemors, and representative payees to report their wages via SSITWR. As of June 2010, SSA’s goal was to increase the number of monthly reporters participating in the SSITWR initiative to 20,000. SSA reported as of March 31, 2010, 24,107 unique wage-reporting participants. SSA planned to continue promoting the use of SSITWR for wage reporting through public information materials.
Plan for Ensuring the Initiatives Do Not Unduly Burden Program Access
OMB’s final requirement is that the Annual Report must contain the agency’s plan, together with supporting analysis, for ensuring that initiatives undertaken to implement the order do not unduly burden program access and participation by eligible beneficiaries. OMB will provide further guidance for this requirement; therefore, this requirement was not included in the Annual Report. Once available, we will review the applicable guidance and ensure future Agency reports contain the required information.
Quarterly High-Dollar Report to the OIG and CIGIE
Along with the Annual Report to the OIG, the Executive Order also requires that each agency with programs susceptible to significant improper payments under IPIA submit a report to the OIG and CIGIE on any high-dollar overpayments identified by the agency. According to the OMB Guidance, a high-dollar overpayment is any overpayment that exceeds 50 percent of the correct amount of the intended payment under the following circumstances:
1. Where the total payment to an individual exceeds $5,000 as a single payment or in cumulative payments for the quarter; or
2. Where the payment to an entity exceeds $25,000 as a single payment or in cumulative payments for the quarter.
SSA received clarifications from OMB on April 27, 2010 and June 2, 2010 for the reporting of high-dollar improper payments. Based on the clarifications, SSA will review improper overpayments identified during stewardship reviews. SSA issued the first high-dollar report to the OIG on July 30, 2010 for the quarter ended June 30, 2010. We will issue a report on our review of the Agency’s high-dollar report under a separate cover.
According to the Executive Order, agencies are required to submit certain information, subject to Federal privacy policies and to the extent permitted by law, to the improper payments Website. This information should include
1. names of the accountable officials;
2. current and historical rates and amounts of improper payments, including, where known and appropriate, causes of the improper payments;
3. current and historical rates and amounts of recovery of improper payments;
4. targets for reducing as well as recovering improper payments; and
5. The entities that have received the greatest amount of outstanding improper payments (or, where improper payments are identified solely based on a sample, the entities that have received the greatest amount of outstanding improper payments in the applicable sample).
Along with providing the above information to the improper payments Website established by OMB, SSA also created a Website providing additional details on improper payments. We reviewed the Website to ensure all information accurately reflected the data reported in SSA’s Annual Report. We noted the Agency had transposed one figure on the Website. We notified the Agency of the discrepancy, and it corrected the error. The remaining data accurately reflected the information from the Annual Report.
Risk and Oversight Assessed by the OIG
We assessed the level of risk of the SSI and RSDI programs. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified the SSI program as high-risk in 1997, and after legislation was issued to improve overpayment recovery and deterrence tools, it was removed from the list in 2003. However, as of 2003, GAO had identified all Federal disability programs, including the disability portion of SSI and the DI programs, as high-risk areas. GAO stated that current demographics have affected SSA’s ability to manage workloads and provide timely and accurate disability decisions. Therefore, the disability portion of the SSI program remains a high-risk area. In contrast, GAO has not identified the RSI program as a high-risk program.
We continue to have oversight of the SSI and RSDI programs through various audits and evaluations. For the period April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010, we issued 108 reports, identifying over $4.2 billion in questioned costs and more than $6 billion in Federal funds that could be put to better use. Our office will continue to monitor SSA's programs by conducting and supervising comprehensive financial and performance audits and by making recommendations to maximize the effective operations of its programs most vulnerable to fraud and abuse.
ACCURACY OF REPORTED INFORMATION
We requested supporting documentation for all figures in the Annual Report. We noted several instances for both monetary and non-monetary figures in which the supporting documentation did not accurately reflect the Report’s data. The discrepancies however were not substantive to the overall content of the report. A listing of these errors is in Appendix E. We noted that SSA needed to perform a more detailed quality review of the Annual Report and supporting appendices before submission.
We also noted that adequate support for some of the figures was not readily available for review. The Agency did not retain adequate documentation to support some of the figures in the Annual Report. We noted that SSA needed to retain supporting documentation to validate the data reflected in its Annual Report.
Matters for Consideration
Overall, our review determined that SSA generally presented all required information from Executive Order 13520 in its Annual Report accurately. The Agency met all requirements of the Executive Order; however, SSA incorrectly reported several monetary and non-monetary figures based on the supporting documentation provided. The Agency should have detected the errors through its quality review process. Subsequent to our review, SSA corrected the report and posted an updated version with the correct figures to its improper payments website. To ensure the accuracy of the data in the Annual Report, SSA should improve the internal quality review procedures surrounding the information in its Annual Report.
Our review also determined that supporting documentation for some figures was not readily available for review. In some instances, the Agency did not retain the supporting data and had to recreate it for our review.
To ensure that improvement in the prevention, collection, and detection of improper payments continues, SSA should continue efforts to address improper payments. Specifically, SSA should evaluate legislative proposals to determine those that would have a positive effect on prevention, collection, and detection of improper payments. Additionally, SSA should continue to seek funding to cover the full cost of program integrity workloads, such as CDRs and SSI redeterminations.
SSA should also continue to evaluate existing programs to identify improvements in the processes for preventing, collecting, and detecting improper payments. Continuous efforts are needed to ensure improper payments are detected timely if they already occurred.
APPENDIX A – Acronyms
APPENDIX B – Scope and Methodology
APPENDIX C – Executive Order 13520, Reducing Improper Payments
APPENDIX D – Defining Erroneous Payments
APPENDIX E – Discrepancies in Annual Report
APPENDIX F – OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
AFI Access to Financial Institutions
AFR Agency Financial Report
APP Annual Performance Plan
CDR Continuing Disability Review
CIGIE Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency
DI Disability Insurance
FR Federal Register
FY Fiscal Year
GAO Government Accountability Office
GPO Government Pension Offset
IPIA Improper Payments Information Act of 2002
ISM In-kind Support and Maintenance
MEF Master Earnings File
OASI Old-Age and Survivors Insurance
OIG Office of the Inspector General
OMB Office of Management and Budget
OQP Office of Quality Performance
PAR Performance and Accountability Report
Pub. L. No. Public Law Number
RSDI Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance
RSI Retirement and Survivors Insurance
SEI Self-Employment Income
SGA Substantial Gainful Activity
SSA Social Security Administration
SSI Supplemental Security Income
SSITWR Supplemental Security Income Automated Telephone Wage Reporting System
U.S.C. United States Code
Scope and Methodology
Our objectives were to review the Accountable Official’s Annual Report to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), as required by Executive Order 13520, Reducing Improper Payments, and determine whether the (1) figures presented were accurate and
(2) Agency complied with all requirements of the Executive Order. To accomplish our objectives, we:
• Reviewed the Accountable Official’s Annual Report under Executive Order 13520, Reducing Improper Payments.
• Reviewed applicable Federal laws.
• Reviewed applicable Office of Management and Budget guidance.
• Reviewed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Stewardship Review Reports for the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.
• Reviewed the FY 2009 Stewardship Review Report for OASDI and SSI.
• Reviewed the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 section of the FY 2009 Performance and Accountability Report.
• Requested data from the Offices of Financial Policy and Operations, Quality Performance, Payment Recovery and Policy, and the Chief Actuary to support the figures presented in the Annual Report.
• Analyzed the source data to ensure the accuracy of all figures.
• Analyzed the narrative of the report to ensure compliance with all requirements of the Executive Order.
We performed our review in May through August 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. We conducted our review in accordance with the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency’s Quality Standards for Inspections.
Executive Order 13520, Reducing Improper Payments
Defining Erroneous Payments
The following table identifies the types of Social Security Administration (SSA) payments, programs affected, current reporting status, reasons for the payments, and their classification. There are two classifications.
• Unavoidable - Payments resulting from legal or policy requirements. These payments are not considered “erroneous” and may still be subject to recovery.
• Avoidable - Payments that should be reflected in the erroneous payment estimate because they could be reduced through changes in administrative actions.
Types of Payments Program Current Status Reason for Overpayment/Underpayment Classification
Payments following a cessation of eligibility due to a continuing disability review DI and SSI Not currently reflected as an error When SSA is required by law to make payments during the appeals process, these payments are not erroneous. Unavoidable
Payments made under the Goldberg-Kelly due-process Supreme Court decision SSI Reported as an unavoidable erroneous payment in the APP When due process requires that SSI payments continue, although the Agency has determined that a payment reduction or termination is in order, such payments are not erroneous. Unavoidable
Payments made incorrectly because of program design SSI Reported as an unavoidable erroneous payment in the APP The law requires that SSI payments be made on the first of the month based on projected income for that particular month. Changes in the recipient’s status can occur during the month, which causes the recipient’s eligibility to change. Because SSA cannot prevent the overpayment, this situation should not be reflected in the Agency’s erroneous payment rate. Unavoidable
Payments issued after death OASI, DI, and SSI Not currently reflected as an error Dollars released after death (either electronically or in the form of a paper check) that are reclaimed by the Department of the Treasury or returned unendorsed should not be reflected in the Agency's erroneous payment rate. Conversely, payments made after death that are improperly cashed or withdrawn, and are subject to overpayment recovery, should be reported. Unavoidable except for fraud or misuse
Non-receipt of payment OASI, DI, and SSI Not currently reflected as an error Duplicate payments issued in accordance with the Robinson-Reyf Court decision are unavoidable and should not be reflected in the Agency's reports on erroneous payments. The only exception is duplicates incorrectly sent to abusers. Unavoidable except for fraud or misuse
Payments based on medical eligibility DI and SSI Not currently reflected as an error Payments are not erroneous if they are the result of a medical improvement review standard or a situation where the beneficiary would have been ineligible had the law permitted retroactive ineligibility. Should not be included in the erroneous payment estimate
Payments made for Title II beneficiaries based on earnings estimates DI and OASI Not currently reflected as an error When program design requires that the Agency make payments based on estimated earnings, these payments should not be considered erroneous. Unavoidable
Undetected error OASI, DI, and SSI Not currently reported as an error The Agency should not reflect undetected error in its erroneous payment rate unless it has evidence that a specific type of erroneous payment was made. Should not be included in the erroneous payment estimate
Duplicate payments to attorneys, vendors, and employees Administrative Expense Not currently reported as an error Agency systems do not capture when the overpayment occurs; however, this type of error does not meet the reporting threshold. Avoidable
Discrepancies in Annual Report
Location in Annual Report Discrepancy Explanation
Page 2 – Designation of High Priority Programs The Social Security Administration (SSA) reported the Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 payment error rate for administrative payments as .5 percent. Supporting documentation showed .05 percent.
Page 2 – Designation of High Priority Programs SSA reported the FY 2008 administrative payments as $1.5 million. Supporting documentation showed $1.5 billion.
Page 5 – Improper Payment Targets FYs 2010 – 2012 SSA reported the FY 2010 target payments as $697,069 million. Supporting documentation showed $697,169 million.
Page 16 – Supplemental Security Income Automated Telephone Wage Reporting As of March 31, 2010, SSA reported 22,103 successful wage reports. Supporting documentation showed 22,067 successful reports.
Page 16 – Supplemental Security Income Automated Telephone Wage Reporting As of September 2009, SSA reported 10,250 unique wage-reporting participants. Supporting documentation showed 10,253 unique participants.
Page 17 – Continuing Disability Reviews SSA reported FY 2008 Full Medical Continuing Disability Reviews as 239,667. Supporting documentation showed 239,661 reviews conducted in FY 2008.
Page 19 – Cooperative Disability Investigations Savings SSA reported since inception in FY 1998, Cooperative Disability Investigations efforts have resulted in a yearly average savings of over
$350 million. Supporting documentation showed this amount was actually the total for FY 2009 and the first half of FY 2010.
Page 33 – Appendix B – Causes of Improper Payments, Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income SSA reported the causes of Supplemental Security Income underpayments in FY 2008 for Child Support as $14 million. Supporting documentation showed the actual underpayments were $1 million.
OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
Victoria Vetter, Director, Financial Audit Division
Deborah Kinsey, Audit Manager, Financial Audit Division
In addition to those named above
Kelly Stankus, Auditor
Lori Lee, Auditor
For additional copies of this report, please visit our Website 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
Chairman and Ranking Member, Committee on Ways and Means
Chief of Staff, Committee on Ways and Means
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Social Security
Majority and Minority Staff Director, Subcommittee on Social Security
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Committee on the Budget, House of Representatives
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives
Chairman and Ranking Minority, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations,
House of Representatives
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Finance
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Social Security Pensions and Family Policy
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Senate Special Committee on Aging
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.
Office of External Relations
OER manages OIG’s external and public affairs programs, and serves as the principal advisor on news releases and in providing information to the various news reporting services. OER develops OIG’s media and public information policies, directs OIG’s external and public affairs programs, and serves as the primary contact for those seeking information about OIG. OER prepares OIG publications, speeches, and presentations to internal and external organizations, and responds to Congressional correspondence.
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.