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Tips Sought About Fraud in Federal Workers’ Compensation

Congressional investigators are seeking tips on possible fraud by federal employees who are collecting workers’ compensation benefits.

The Government Accountability Office, Congress’s investigative arm, is collecting information about schemes such as a beneficiary working a second job, overstating a compensation claim, or collecting benefits owed to a deceased person, according to a statement posted today on its website.

The agency is examining fraud and abuse in the Federal Employees Compensation Act program, which in fiscal year 2009 paid benefits to 253,000 workers for injuries and illnesses. The probe, part of the GAO’s ongoing FraudNet effort, is similar to the agency’s reporting mechanism involving small-business programs, said Chuck Young, a GAO spokesman.

In 2009, the U.S. Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs paid over $4.1 billion in four programs, according to a Labor Department report. Of the total, $2.73 billion was spent on almost 253,000 federal workers or their survivors, according to the report.

The federal office also oversees benefit programs for coal miners with black lung, injured maritime and harbor workers and employees of the Energy Department exposed to radiation.

The GAO will keep all information about those who contact the government confidential, the statement said.

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