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Open Recommendations

Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities: Federal Programs Provide Support for Preventing Falls, but Program Reach is Limited

GAO-22-105276
Jul 27, 2022
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3 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The Director of the CDC should expand the scope of its analysis of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to include the prevalence of falls and fall-related injuries among adults under age 65 who may be at higher risk of falls, including adults with disabilities, and, as appropriate, share findings with ACL and other agencies overseeing relevant programmatic efforts. For example:

  • CDC could analyze existing BRFSS data on adults aged 45 to 64 and share findings, as appropriate.
  • CDC could propose asking adults aged 18 to 44 the two BRFSS fall-related questions, as part of the survey update process.

(Recommendation 1)

Open
HHS agreed with this recommendation and described steps CDC and ACL plan to take to implement it. For example, CDC plans to include a fall-related question in the 2023 BRFSS, which will allow additional analysis on adults aged 45 to 64. Additionally, ACL plans to share information among its disability programs to raise awareness of falls risk for adults with disabilities. In doing so, it plans to coordinate with federal partners on the most current and relevant information to be shared. We will monitor the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
Administration for Community Living The Administrator of ACL should identify a collaborative mechanism to facilitate sustained information sharing on all populations at risk of falls and in need of evidence-based falls prevention, home modifications, or home assessments. For example, this could be accomplished by establishing an interagency working group or by building upon the existing efforts to expand the reach of the Housing and Services Resource Center. (Recommendation 2)
Open
HHS agreed with this recommendation and described steps ACL plans to take to implement it. For example, ACL will build upon the Housing Services and Resource Center to reach out to other federal agencies, such as VA, to further increase collaboration. Additionally, ACL plans to share information among its disability programs to raise awareness of falls risk for adults with disabilities. In doing so, it plans to coordinate with federal partners on the most current and relevant information to be shared.
Administration for Community Living The Administrator of ACL should share and highlight information on falls risk and related resources for adults with disabilities who are younger than 60 more prominently among its disability network to inform state and local planning efforts. For example, to the extent possible and appropriate, ACL could work with CDC to highlight relevant falls data and leverage existing resources on falls prevention. (Recommendation 3)
Open
HHS agreed with this recommendation and described steps CDC and ACL plan to take to implement it. For example, ACL plans to share information among its disability programs to raise awareness of falls risk for adults with disabilities. In doing so, it plans to coordinate with federal partners on the most current and relevant information to be shared. We will monitor the agency's progress to address this recommendation.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Federal Program Supported Contingent Workers Amid Historic Demand, but DOL Should Examine Racial Disparities in Benefit Receipt

GAO-22-104438
Jun 07, 2022
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2 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Labor The Secretary of Labor should study and advise the Congress and other policymakers on the costs, benefits, and risks of various options to systematically support self-employed and contingent workers during periods of involuntary unemployment outside of declared disasters, including considering options' feasibility and approach to fraud prevention. (Recommendation 1)
Open
DOL agreed with this recommendation. We will monitor the agency's efforts to implement it.
Department of Labor
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Labor should ensure the Office of Unemployment Insurance examines and publicly reports on the extent of and potential causes of racial and ethnic inequities in the receipt of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits, as part of the agency's efforts to modernize UI and improve equity in the system. The report should also address whether there is a need to examine racial, ethnic, or other inequities in regular UI benefit receipt, based on the PUA findings. (Recommendation 2)
Open
DOL partially agreed with this recommendation, noting that enhancing demographic data collection in the permanent UI programs to inform actions to improve equity is a higher priority than performing a complete retrospective review of the PUA program, which is no longer operating. We believe examining and reporting on the extent and potential causes of racial and ethnic inequities in the receipt of PUA benefits would provide valuable information for DOL and policymakers to effectively monitor state practices or meeting its goals of advancing racial, geographic, and gender equity in the UI system. We appreciate DOL's commitment to improving equity in UI programs, and to consider the insights in our report as it advances its ongoing and planned efforts: we await the results of these efforts and encourage the agency to pursue such an analysis in tandem with these ongoing efforts. For example, DOL could consider obtaining and analyzing PUA data from the states with which DOL is establishing data partnerships, and then assessing the need for further study based on initial findings.

Unemployment Insurance: Pandemic Programs Posed Challenges, and DOL Could Better Address Customer Service and Emergency Planning

GAO-22-104251
Jun 07, 2022
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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Labor The Secretary of Labor should ensure that the Office of Unemployment Insurance review the customer service challenges that states faced during the pandemic, identify comprehensive information on customer service best practices, and provide states with this information to assist them in improving service delivery. (Recommendation 1)
Open
DOL partially agreed with this recommendation, stating that DOL already has a number of efforts underway designed to improve the unemployment insurance (UI) claimant experience and the timely delivery of UI benefits and services to eligible workers. For example, DOL stated that it offers grants to states for activities to promote equitable access to UI programs, and has an effort underway to support state pilot projects regarding service delivery, among other efforts. We believe that these efforts are important and could help DOL to provide states with information to assist them in improving the customer service experience.
Department of Labor The Secretary of Labor should ensure the Office of Unemployment Insurance assesses lessons learned from the pandemic to inform its future disaster response efforts and support the Congress on ways to address future emergencies. (Recommendation 2)
Open
DOL agreed with this recommendation, stating that such efforts are underway and will continue. We agree that DOL's efforts to learn from states' challenges during the pandemic could help inform future disaster response efforts and will consider closing this recommendation when those efforts are complete.

Unemployment Insurance: Transformation Needed to Address Program Design, Infrastructure, and Integrity Risks

GAO-22-105162
Jun 07, 2022
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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Labor The Secretary of Labor should develop and execute a transformation plan that meets GAO's high risk criteria for transformation; the plan should outline coordinated and sustained actions to address issues related to providing effective service and mitigating financial risk, including ways to demonstrate improvements. Planned actions may include addressing audit recommendations, and determining whether legislative changes are needed, as appropriate. Planned actions may also include achieving quantifiable results in reducing improper payment rates, including those related to fraud; improving efficiency in claims processing and restoring pre-pandemic payment timeliness levels; better reaching current worker populations; and enhancing equity in benefit distribution. (Recommendation 1)
Open
DOL agreed with this recommendation. The agency highlighted initiatives it is taking to address it, such as efforts aimed at reducing improper payments and combating fraud; enhancing equity in program access and benefit distribution; and improving efficiency in claims processing, among others. We laud these valuable efforts and encourage DOL to continue to pursue efforts to transform the UI system to help meet, in part, the criteria for removal from the GAO high-risk list. These actions, if implemented effectively, would help address our recommendation.
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