The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (WPEA) requires SSA's Inspector General to designate a "Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman (WPO)."
The WPO's role is to educate SSA employees about prohibitions on retaliation for protected disclosures; and their rights and remedies against retaliation for protected disclosures.
This page and the linked information accessible from this page are designed to serve as an educational tool for SSA employees about whistleblower protections.
- The law does not permit the WPO to act as a legal representative, agent, or advocate for SSA employees. Therefore, if you have questions related to specific circumstances and situations, it is advisable to seek assistance or representation from an SSA Union Representative, if applicable, or from outside legal counsel.
SSA Inspector General Patrick O’Carroll, Jr., has designated Tristan Siegel, as part of his duties as the Counsel to the IG, to serve as the WPO for SSA.
WPO Contact Information
SSA employees can obtain information about whistleblower issues by contacting the SSA OIG WPO at:
What is a Whistleblower?
A "whistleblower" discloses information he/she reasonably believes evidences:
- A violation of any law, rule, or regulation
- Gross mismanagement: substantial risk of significant adverse impact on mission
- Gross waste of funds: more than a debatable expenditure
- Abuse of authority: an arbitrary decision for personal gain and/or to injure others
- A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety
Whistleblower Protection Background
Disclosures by whistleblowers can save lives and taxpayer dollars. Broadly speaking, Federal whistleblower law is designed to protect SSA employees and applicants who speak out against illegal, wasteful, and dangerous practices and who cooperate with or disclose information to the SSA Inspector General or the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), among other things.
More detailed information on prohibitions on retaliation and the specific rights and remedies available are explained below.
Commonly Asked Questions
Note: All SSA and DDS employees can access SSA's Notification of Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) Act Disciplinary Policy here.