From: Peace Corps OIG Semiannual Report to Congress , Apr 1 , 2008 to Sept 30, 2008
"Investigation of Federal Employees' Compensation Act Recipients"
The Investigation Unit monitors Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA)
claims. At present, the Peace Corps has approximately 1,300 open FECA claims and
the Agency spends roughly $11 million dollars for former Volunteers and staff who
were injured or became ill on the job or during their service. Unlike other federal
entities, per section 10.730 Workers Compensation Programs, "[a]ny injury sustained
by a volunteer or volunteer leader while he or she is located abroad shall be presumed
to have been sustained in the performance of duty, and any illness contracted during
such time shall be presumed to be proximately caused by the employment." This also
includes any pre-existing condition that may have been aggravated by Peace Corps
service. In addition, the Peace Corps' five-year rule and Volunteer special status under
the FECA program limit the possibility that these individuals will return to work.
During this reporting period, the OIG performed 23 death queries on individuals
receiving FECA benefits. The OIG also traveled to the Office of Workers'
Compensation Second District to review claimant files. Of special interest were
claims deemed questionable due to the high compensation benefits received while
the medical bills of the claimants were comparatively low. The OIG also made home
visits to suspect claimants in order to check on their living/working status.