Report outlines requirements for federal benefits systems

A task force of government officials has developed a tool it hopes will help agencies develop benefits systems that meet the financial requirements of the 1996 Federal Financial Management Improvement Act (FFMIA). Under the act, agencies must produce timely and reliable statements that demonstrate their compliance with federal financial management systems requirements, federal accounting standards and the U.S. government standard general ledger. If an agency believes its systems are not FFMIA-compliant, it must develop a remediation plan to become compliant within three years. The Joint Financial Management Improvement Program, whose members include Comptroller General David Walker, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels and Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Steven Cohen, issued a draft report on May 11 that sets governmentwide requirements for federal agency benefit systems. The Benefits Systems Requirement report focuses on information technology systems used in administering Social Security benefits, civil service, military, railroad and foreign service retirement benefits, various veterans' benefits and a wide range of disability programs. By setting a governmentwide standard, the report aims to help agencies as they develop new benefit systems or improve and evaluate existing systems. Comments on the report should be sent by July 15 to:

Joint Financial Management Improvement Program
Suite 430
1990 K Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Attn: Benefit Systems Requirement

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