Sen. Collins’ Bill Would End Perverse Incentives Keeping People on a More Lucrative System into Retirement Years
February 2, 2011
Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today introduced legislation to stop the costly and escalating abuses of the federal workers’ compensation system.
The Federal Employment Compensation Act (FECA) is an important program intended to tide over employees who are injured and make sure they receive income while they recuperate pending their return to work.
FECA pays monthly benefits to about 49,000 federal employees who are on its “periodic roll.” From July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, the cost was $2.78 billion. Of that dollar amount, nearly half – or $1.1 billion – went to U.S. Postal Service employees.
“At the U.S. Postal Service, for example, more than 2,000 employees currently receiving federal workers’ compensation benefits are 70 years or older,” said Senator Collins. “Nearly 1,000 employees are 80 years or older. Incredibly, 132 of these individuals are 90 and older and there are three who are 98. This abuse may extend across the government. If recipients are gaming this crucial benefit at taxpayers’ expense, they must be exposed and the underlying program must be reformed.”
The bill would reduce workforce-related costs government wide by converting retirement eligible postal and federal employees on workers’ compensation to retirement when they reach retirement age.