Posts tagged ‘gao’

New Government Report: Social Security Disability: Management of Disability Claims Workload Will Require comprehensive Planning: Testimony Before Subcommittees on Social Security and Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives

Social Security Disability: Management of Disability Claims Workload Will Require comprehensive Planning: Testimony Before Subcommittees on Social Security and Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives
by Daniel Bertoni
Paperback, 17 pages, 2010, ISBN: 9781437933284, $15.00

Statement of Daniel Bertoni, Dir., Education, Workforce, and Income Security, GAO.

Nearly 2 million people are waiting to find out if they qualify for Social Security disability benefits, reports the Associated Press. It will be a long wait for most, even if they eventually win their cases. The Social Security system is so overwhelmed by applications for disability benefits that many people are waiting more than two years for their first payment. In Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and other states, the wait can be even longer.

For years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has been challenged to manage its large disability claims workload. Difficulties in making timely and accurate decisions have contributed to backlogs accumulating at different levels of the claims process.

These backlogs have occurred most often at the hearings level, the level at which initial claims that were denied are appealed and await a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Claimants often experienced long waits for a decision on their claim because of this backlog. In May 2007, SSA released a plan designed to eliminate its hearings-level backlog. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was subsequently asked by Congress to evaluate this plan and issued a report in September 2009.

This testimony discusses SSA’s backlog reduction plan and the challenges the agency faces in managing its overall claims workload. It draws primarily from GAO reports, and recent reports issued by SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Figures.

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August 4, 2010 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Terrorist Watchlist Screening: FBI Has Enhanced Its Use of Information from Firearm and Explosives Background Checks to Support Counterterrorism Efforts: Congressional Testimony

Terrorist Watchlist Screening: FBI Has Enhanced Its Use of Information from Firearm and Explosives Background Checks to Support Counterterrorism Efforts: Congressional Testimony
By Eileen R. Larence (Paperback, 17 pages, 2010, $15)

Membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law. However, for homeland security and other purposes, the FBI is notified when a firearm or explosives background check involves an individual on the terrorist watchlist.

In light of the recent failed Times Square bombing, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee:

“When gun dealers run background checks, should F.B.I. agents have the authority to block sales of guns and explosives to those on the terror watch lists — and deemed too dangerous to fly?” the New York Times reported the Mayor asking. “I believe strongly that they should.”

According to GAO, from February 2004 to February 2010, 1,228 people listed on an FBI terror watchlist had tried to buy weapons. About 90 percent, some 1,119, had succeeded. Faisal Shahzad, the alleged bomber, was not on the list in March.

This statement addresses: (1) how many checks have resulted in matches with the terrorist watchlist; (2) how the FBI uses information from these checks for counterterrorism purposes; and (3) pending legislation that would give the Attorney General authority to deny certain checks. Includes recommendations. Charts and tables.

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May 10, 2010 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Auto Industry: Lessons Learned from Clash for Clunkers Program

Auto Industry: Lessons Learned from Cash for Clunkers Program
by A. Nicole Clowers (Paperback, 43 pages, 2010, $25)

In July and August 2009, the federal government implemented the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) program, or “Cash for Clunkers,” a temporary vehicle retirement program that offered consumers a monetary credit ($3,500 or $4,500) to trade in an older vehicle for a new, more fuel-efficient one.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was responsible for administering the program, and GAO was required to review the program’s administration.

This report examines (1) what is known to date about the extent to which the CARS program achieved its objectives; (2) what stakeholders’ experiences were with the CARS program; and (3) how the CARS program compares to other selected domestic and international vehicle retirement programs. Tables and figures.

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May 3, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s Office of Collections and Distribution and Fair Funds

Securities and Exchange Commission: Information on Fair Fund Collections and Distributions
by A. Nicole Clowers (Paperback, 34 pages, 2010, $20)

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) primary mission is to protect investors and maintain the integrity of securities markets.

As a part of its responsibility to protect investors, SEC seeks to ensure that individuals who violate federal securities laws and regulations take responsibility for their misdeeds. Specifically, when individuals or firms are found to have violated securities laws, SEC may order civil monetary penalties and seek ill-gotten financial gains, or disgorgement, from the violators.

For its enforcement actions to be successful, SEC must have a collection and distribution program for both civil monetary penalties and disgorgement that functions effectively. In 2002, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which established numerous reforms to increase investor protection, including Section 308(a), the Federal Account for Investor Restitution provision, commonly known as the Fair Fund provision.

This provision allows SEC to combine civil monetary penalties and other donations to disgorgement funds for the benefit of investors who suffer losses resulting from fraud or other securities violations.

In 2007, SEC created the Office of Collections and Distribution (OCD) to manage the collection of penalties and disgorgement, including Fair Funds, and speed the process of returning funds back to harmed investors.

This report examines (1) the status of Fair Fund collections and distributions and (2) the actions that SEC has taken to address GAO’s previous recommendations regarding SEC’s OCD. Figures.

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April 26, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

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