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Social Security Administration's OIG Purchase and Travel Charge Card Report

According to a risk assessment by the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Inspector General (OIG), the agency’s policies and procedures governing its purchase and travel card programs address the requirements of the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012, and it has additional internal controls in place to support oversight. Specifically, reviewers found SSA employs a variety of strategies and tools to prevent or identify illegal, improper, and erroneous purchases, including restrictions on the dollar amounts a travel card holder may withdraw from automated teller machines and a tool that identifies split purchases, defined as multiple purchase transactions made by the same cardholder to the same vendor on the same day that together exceed the $3,000 micropurchase threshold. SSA also has internal controls in place to assist in managing purchase and travel cards, such as deactivating purchase cards if cardholders fail to complete refresher training and reducing travel card spending limits for cardholders not in travel status.

SSA staff indicated there were no delinquent purchase card accounts or disciplinary actions taken against purchase card holders from October 1, 2011, through June 30, 2013. Although some travel card accounts were delinquent each month during the same period, “[t]he highest occurrence of delinquency represents only 0.47 percent of the total number of travel card accounts,” reviewers noted. SSA staff reported 42 disciplinary actions for inappropriate use of the travel card during the period being reviewed. As a result, OIG deemed the risk associated with SSA’s use of purchase cards to be low, and it plans to an audit of the agency’s travel card program in fiscal year 2014.


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