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Improper CSRS Payments Labeled as ‘High-Risk’

improper

The Office of Personnel Management’s Inspector General released a report saying that even though the overall portion is small, Civil Service Retirement System improper payments are still considered to be “high-risk”.

OPM overpaid $82.9 billion to 2.6 million federal annuitants and survivor annuitants under CSRS and the Federal Employee Retirement System. The payments are made from the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, in which federal employees and taxpayers each contribute.

The overall improper payment rate for these retirement programs is 0.38%. Per the IG, the total amount of all types of improper retirement payments reported by OPM was $313.8 million, and of that, $238.7 million were overpayments.

The amount of underpayments was $75.1 million, representing 0.09%.

While these numbers are small, the IG says they still represent a “high-risk” because of the antiquated IT systems at OPM. “OPM’s systems were not designed or built to perform analysis of vast quantities of data…it [OPM’s Retirement Service office] is unable to provide the level of granularity needed to fulfill OMB A-136 reporting requirements,” the report said.

The IG wasn’t optimistic in the report…

[We] continue to believe that the process for conducting projects and reviews such as those described above, and for reporting and following up on the results, needs to be improved. In addition, the need for continuing innovation in the analysis of available information on annuity payments is never-ending. The OIG spends a significant amount of time and resources identifying, assessing, and investigating retirement cases where a single deceased annuitant was improperly paid over 5, 10, or even 20 years. It is clear that not all improper payments are being identified in a timely manner. Furthermore, we continue to conclude that Retirement Services lacks a comprehensive centralized tracking system to record and analyze its program integrity work and lacks appropriate internal control procedures to timely detect, identify, and report potential fraud, waste, and abuse.