Senate Passes Bill to Reduce FERS and CSRS Benefits Fraud and Misuse

Senate Passes Bill to Reduce FERS and CSRS Benefits Fraud and Misuse

CSRSThe U.S. Senate, in one of its rare acts of bipartisan support for a bill through Unanimous Consent, has passed the Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act of 2015.

This bill (S.1576) cracks down on federal retirement benefit fraud and misuse by giving U.S. Attorneys the statutory authority to prosecute retiree representatives who misuse funds from the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).

FERS and CSRS are the primary retirement funds of federal workers, and they’re managed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). S.1576 was introduced due to concerns about an increase in embezzlement of government benefits by dishonest representatives of retirees, and to help prevent the misuse of these retirement funds that the government pays.

This bill classifies the crime of misusing federal retirement funds as a felony.  This is expected to deter deceitful behavior targeting retirees and provide the same protections to federal employees and retirees that Social Security and Veterans benefits recipients already have.

 Bill to Reduce FERS and CSRS Benefits Fraud Sails Through Senate 

It was introduced by Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) in June 2015. Lankford and Heitkamp are chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. The bill was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on June 24.

After the bill sailed through the full Senate with Unanimous Consent, Sen. Lankford issued a statement saying that “I’m pleased the Senate has passed this bill to protect the retirement and annuities of federal employees all across America from caretaker misuse and fraud. We must fight against the embezzlement of federal government civil worker benefits to ensure a stable retirement for them and their families.”

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