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Department of Education OIG

Federal Student Aid’s Suspension of Involuntary Collection in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The objective of our review was to evaluate the results of Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) process for suspending involuntary collection and refunding payments involuntarily collected on defaulted Department-held loans in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. We found that FSA suspended administrative wage garnishments and the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) offsets for over 96 percent of the borrowers that FSA collected payments for within 90 days of March 13, 2020, the start of the suspension period. However, as of October 23, 2020, we found that FSA continued to receive administrative...

U.S. Postal Service OIG

Mail Service During the Early Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Postal Service provided vital service, including the delivery of critical items such as medications, stimulus payments, and Social Security checks. Further, the Postal Service is the leading delivery service provider for online purchases. A May 2020 Harris Poll survey on America’s 100 essential companies’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, ranked the Postal Service as number one, based on its resolve, integrity, responsiveness, and permanence. Our objective was to evaluate mail service during the early stages of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease...

U.S. Postal Service OIG

Military, Diplomatic, and Other International Election Mail

The Postal Service processes international election and political mail for eligible U.S. citizens throughout the world. Military and diplomatic members and their families or other U.S. citizens located in foreign countries can use or receive these types of mail. Election mail is any item mailed to, or from, authorized election officials that enables citizens to participate in the voting process. For example, local election offices in the U.S. send ballots or other election materials to international recipients and the international voters mail their completed election ballots back. Political...

Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

Date of Receipt of Claims and Mail Processing During the COVID-19 National State of Emergency

The OIG reviewed the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) processing of mail and benefit claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the review team examined whether VBA staff documented the date of receipt for benefits-related correspondence as required by new guidance during the national state of emergency and continued mail operations at VA facilities to ensure benefit claims were processed. Based on its sample analysis, the OIG found VBA staff did not properly apply date of receipt documentation guidance for an estimated 98 percent of 3,200 claims established from April 7...

U.S. Postal Service OIG

Processing Readiness of Election and Political Mail During the 2020 General Elections

The Postal Service plays a vital role in the American democratic process and this role continues to grow as the volume of Election and Political Mail increases. In addition to the next general election, which will be held November 3, 2020, there will be federal elections for all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate. There will also be 13 state and territorial elections for governor and numerous other state and local elections. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an expected increase in the number of Americans who will choose to vote by...

Department of Labor OIG

COVID-19: OSHA Needs To Improve Its Handling Of WhistleBlower Complaints During the Pandemic

Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

Review of Highly Rural Community-Based Outpatient Clinics Limited Access to Select Specialty Care

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviewed the accessibility of dermatology, orthopedics, and urology specialty care for patients in the 17 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) classified as highly rural. The OIG also reviewed accessibility, barriers, and the availability and utilization of resources for the time frame March 1, 2018 (or from the date the CBOC became highly rural), through February 28, 2019. VHA utilized clinical consults, electronic consults (eConsults), telehealth, and community care to provide specialty care at the highly...

U.S. Postal Service OIG

Management Alert – Timeliness of Ballot Mail in the Milwaukee Processing & Distribution Center Service Area

On April 9 and April 16, 2020, we received requests from U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson and U.S. Representatives Gwen Moore and Bryan Steil to investigate reports of absentee ballots not delivered in a timely manner for the Wisconsin primary election held Tuesday, April 7, 2020. This management alert responds to the congressional requests and presents our results and recommendations to address the issues identified in this report.

Department of Labor OIG

COVID-19: OWCP Should Continue to Closely Monitor Impact on Claims Processing