By Bernie Becker - 01/11/11 03:33 PM EST
The Labor Department office that runs the FECA program paid recipients about $2.78 billion over a recent 12-month span, according to the letter. In the correspondence, Collins adds that, while she understands the importance of the FECA program, she is also worried that employees can take advantage of it.
For example, she says, the program does not require third-party medical check-ups and does not cap how long a recipient can get FECA benefits. And, in a statement, the Maine senator said the programs’ benefits were more generous than federal retirement and contain an annual cost-of-living adjustment as well.
"I am increasingly concerned that individuals with no intention of returning to work continue to receive these benefits," Collins said in the statement. "At the U.S. Postal Service, for example, 1,000 employees currently receiving federal workers' compensation benefits are 80 years or older. Incredibly, 132 of these individuals are 90 and older and there are three who are 98.”
With that in mind, Collins has asked the GAO to compare the FECA program to state workers’ compensation initiatives and to review how long recipients are in the FECA program and how many are past retirement age.