The Department of Labor’s (DOL) budget increased significantly in FY2020, due in large part to additional funding for programs created or augmented due to COVID-19. As the office responsible for overseeing these funds – $400 billion for 2020 – the DOL Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG) created a Pandemic Rapid Response Team to combat fraud, waste, and abuse.
What makes this Rapid Response Team unique is its multi-disciplinary approach to oversight. With members from multiple offices across the OIG – Investigations, Audits, Congressional and Public Relations, Legal Services, and Management and Policy – the team shares information and applies discoveries made more rapidly, while implementing the DOL-OIG’s Pandemic Response Oversight Plan.
The results are impressive: since the pandemic started, the DOL-OIG has opened more than 3,000 investigative matters on unemployment insurance (UI) fraud, a staggering increase over the average 100 UI cases per year. In addition, the DOL-OIG has published 11 audits and other reports including two Alert Memos highlighting critical findings in UI program assessments. The team’s agile approach means key findings are shared as they are discovered, rather than waiting until a full report is finalized to share them.
In addition, the team quickly developed recommendations to Congress based on vulnerabilities the DOL-OIG discovered relating to self-certification for UI benefits, the reason for many UI investigations. And, because of the team’s rapid information sharing and trend monitoring capabilities, DOL-OIG has already published several fraud alerts advising the public of multiple fraud scams.
To learn more about DOL-OIG investigations, audits, reports, and fraud alerts, visit the DOL-OIG Pandemic Response portal.