The Government Accountability Office has recommended the Defense Department to communicate with the Labor Department and monitor Federal Employees’ Compensation Act claims-management actions timelines to identify areas in which delays may occur.
A GAO published Thursday says 47,340 DoD civilian employees covered 17 percent of FECA’s claimants in 2015 with 56 percent of the total-disability beneficiaries at or above the full Social Security Retirement age.
GAO noted 35 percent of the total beneficiaries received only medical benefits and 31 percent got cash payments for injury or death, including the 20 percent that were given partial- or total-disability benefits.
Auditors added that interviewed DoD FECA officials such as program managers, injury compensation specialists and liaisons blamed perceived delays with receipts of decisions from DOL despite having access to the latter’s data for FECA management.
DOL said that some determinations on the return of employees to work could take months to process because of the amount of information and communication required between employing agencies, injured employees and other parties.
Monitoring timelines could help DoD identify the extent of and the nature of problems that affect delays on return-to-work efforts as well as work to update the system and gather information to communicate such issues with DOL, GAO added.