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Audit Report - A-13-97-92001

Office of Audit

Review of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime - A-13-97-92001 - 1/31/97

Ronald E. Brooks
Acting Deputy Commissioner for Human Resources

Assistant Inspector General for Audit

Review of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime

This report presents the results of our audit of the use of administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO) pay at the Social Security Administration (SSA). We determined that SSA’s use of AUO was minimal since only two employees were receiving AUO for a short period of time in 1996. The amount of the AUO pay was to be approximately $10,523. We found that SSA had properly determined that the employees were eligible for AUO payments in accordance with Federal regulations. However, in calculating the AUO payment amount, we found that the two employees were underpaid. We recommended that SSA work to correct these underpayments. The SSA agreed with our recommendation and informed us that the AUO payments have been corrected and processed for payment.


Section 650 of the Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government Appropriations Act of 1997, (as contained in section 101(f) of Public Law 104-208, the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997), requires the Inspector General (IG) of any agency that pays annual premium pay for AUO work to conduct an audit of the use of AUO pay at the agency and report its findings and conclusions to the Office of Personnel Management, the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Senate, and the Government Reform and Oversight Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Section 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) chapter 1 section 550.151, allows an agency to pay AUO to an employee in a position in which the hours of duty cannot be controlled administratively and which requires substantial amounts of irregular or occasional overtime work. A typical example of a position which meets this requirement is that of an investigator of criminal activities whose hours of duty are dictated by the individuals under investigation.

An agency may pay AUO at a percent of the employee`s rate of basic pay (including geographic adjustment). A position which requires an average of over 9 hours a week of irregular or occasional overtime work is allowed to receive 25 percent AUO.

SSA follows the requirements of the CFR to determine AUO eligibility. According to SSA personnel, AUO has been used infrequently; therefore, SSA has not developed its own written policies and procedures specifically for AUO.

During the period under review, SSA continued to use the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) payroll system. Until SSA has implemented its own payroll system, payroll information is coordinated through both agencies to process the SSA employee payroll.


Our audit was performed in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. The objective of our audit was to examine policies, extent, cost, and other relevant aspects of the use of AUO pay at SSA in 1996. In addition, the audit included a determination as to whether agency eligibility criteria and AUO payments complied with Federal laws and regulations. To achieve our objective, we examined Federal regulations, reviewed payroll and personnel records, interviewed key personnel, and analyzed payroll data. We reviewed those internal control procedures necessary to meet our audit objectives.


We were informed by SSA’s Office of Personnel, that two SSA employees received AUO pay in 1996. Our review disclosed that SSA was in compliance with Federal regulations in determining that two individuals were eligible to receive AUO payments. However, due to systems limitations, SSA was working to resolve problems with incorrect payment amounts for the two individuals.


SSA’s Office of Personnel, advised us that two employees received AUO for six pay periods in 1996 (August 4, 1996 through October 26, 1996). The employees were classified as GS-1810, General Investigator series, in the Office of the Inspector General. Our review of the CFR indicated that GS-1810, General Investigators were eligible to receive AUO payments at the 25 percent level. The AUO was approved by the IG.

We examined the timesheets and found that the AUO time was certified by a supervisor. The timesheets also showed that the employees worked an average of over 9 hours a week overtime as required by the CFR. Discussions with the employees and their supervisor revealed that their work involved investigations of criminal activities.

Extent of AUO Payments Paid by SSA

Since HHS was responsible for maintaining SSA’s payroll system during the period under review, we attempted to verify the number of SSA employees who received AUO pay through HHS’ historical data base. The HHS historical data base showed that only one HHS employee within the entire department was receiving AUO payments. The data base did not report the two SSA employees because HHS’s system was not programmed to identify AUO for general investigators.

Accuracy of AUO Payments

According to SSA’s Office of Personnel the HHS system was originally programmed to make AUO payments to Criminal Investigators (GS-1811 series), but not to General Investigators (GS-1810 series). We found no instances where criminal investigators were paid AUO. Criminal investigators currently eligible for availability pay and are not eligible for AUO.

Based on the AUO pay rate, we calculated that the two employees were scheduled to receive $10,523 in AUO pay. We determined that the payments of AUO to the two employees were less than they should have been. At the conclusion of our review, SSA was working with HHS on making the necessary corrections to ensure the affected employees were correctly paid.



We recommended that SSA continue to work with HHS to make the necessary corrections to ensure the affected employees are correctly paid AUO.


SSA contacted HHS and was advised that HHS processed the AUO adjusted payments.

Pamela J. Gardiner

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