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Nearly Doubles Funding for the Newly Created Office of Disability Employment Policy: A $20 million increase would complement the Administration's New Freedom Initiative, allowing the Office of Disability Employment Policy to undertake new activities to integrate individuals with disabilities into the work force. The Office will facilitate change in policies and practices that will result in higher numbers of individuals with disabilities employed in the competitive labor market.
The 2002 Budget reallocates resources from lower-priority and duplicative activities to areas where there are demonstrated needs. Specifically, the budget would:
Boost DOL's Central Information Technology (IT) Fund: The budget maintains compliance with the Clinger-Cohen Act, meets IT architecture requirements, ensures IT security, and addresses related capital investment needs. Continued investments in this area will expand communication capabilities, improve service delivery, and increase access to information for people with disabilities.
Establish Federal Employees' Compensation Act Administrative Surcharge: Establish an administrative surcharge on the amount billed to Federal agencies for workers' compensation benefits, financing DOL's program administration expenses and boosting agencies' incentives to improve the safety of their workplaces.
Redirect Certain Targeted Job Training Programs: The budget supports a sustained effort in core job training programs. Individuals served through these targeted job training programs could be served through the youth and adult programs. In the case of Incumbent Workers, for example, States can currently use Federal training funds for incumbent worker projects.
Concentrate Funding on Problems Here at Home: DOL's priority must be workers here at home. The budget maintains international labor activities at 2000 levels.
The Department's Inspector General (IG) has identified a number of areas where progress is needed and the Department will continue to address other management needs.
Protection of Worker Benefit Funds: The Department oversees several programs that provide benefits to workers, such as the Unemployment Insurance, Black Lung Benefits, and Federal Employees' Compensation Act programs. The IG continues to be concerned about the ease with which these programs can be defrauded by claimants and medical providers, as well as other weaknesses that can lead to waste of program funds.
Foreign Labor Certification: The IG continues to identify fraud in the labor certification programs such as the filing of fraudulent petitions on behalf of fictitious companies and petitions filed for legitimate companies without their knowledge or permission. Based on its investigative and audit work, the IG remains concerned about the potential for increased fraud in this area.
Performance Accountability of Grants: DOL's administration of roughly $9 billion in grant funds continues to be an area of concern. DOL needs to ensure that all grantee cost reports are entered in a timely manner into the Department's financial system to ensure accountability over the billions of dollars involved, and more attention to grant management is needed in such program areas a Youth Opportunity, Welfare-to-Work, and Child Labor programs.
Alien Labor Certification (ALC) Program Reform: DOL will complete the development of a streamlined adjudication process for permanent ALC applications. Changes to the program include moving to an employer attestation process, eliminating State processing, centralizing Federal processing, and implementing an audit function. DOL plans to move expeditiously on implementing the reformed adjudication system.
Compliance Assistance Efforts: In recent years, DOL has expanded its efforts to develop and use non-enforcement tools (e.g., consultation, electronic advisors) to help achieve compliance with workplace laws and regulations. DOL will continue to explore the use of technology (such as the Internet, interactive electronic advisors, and distance learning) and related interventions to improve and expand the reach of its compliance assistance.
Energy Employees' Occupational Illness Compensation Program: DOL faces a significant challenge in the implementation of the Energy Employees' Occupational Illness Compensation Program, which is set to begin on July 31, 2001. DOL will continue to work with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Energy, and Justice to ensure the program's efficient operation.
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