There’s A Reason Why Customer Service At Obama’s IRS Sucks

Report: IRS Deliberately Cut Its Own Customer Service Budget – Weekly Standard

.

.
If you tried to contact the IRS with a question about your taxes this year, chances are you didn’t get a response. The IRS estimated that it would only answer 17 million of the 49 million calls received this filing season. Taxpayers lucky enough to have the IRS answer their calls waited an average of 34.4 minutes for assistance – nearly double the wait time last year (18.7 minutes).

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has blamed the IRS’s “abysmal” customer service on congressional budget cuts – funding is down $1.2 billion from its 2010 peak – but a new congressional report points the finger back at the IRS. While congressional funding for the IRS remained flat from 2014 to 2015, the IRS diverted $134 million away from customer service to other activities.

In addition to the $11 billion appropriated by Congress, the IRS takes in more than $400 million in user fees and may allocate that money as it sees fit. In 2014, the IRS allocated $183 million in user fees to its customer service budget, but allocated just $49 million in 2015 – a 76 percent cut.

Commissioner Koskinen will appear before the House Ways and Means Committee this morning, one week after the federal tax filing deadline, and he can expect to be asked why the IRS cut its own customer service budget and continues to spend money on other questionable activities.

The report notes that Koskinen reinstated bonuses weeks after his appointment, has allowed IRS employees to spend roughly 500,000 work hours on union activities, and failed to collect delinquent taxes owed by federal employees. The tax agency has also been strained by Obamacare. According to the report, the IRS has spent “over $1.2 billion on the President’s health care law to date, with a planned expenditure this year of an additional $500 million.”

The IRS’s total annual $11 billion budget is dwarfed by the amount of improper tax payments it makes each year. According to the report, the IRS paid out $17.7 billion in improper Earned Income Tax Credit payments (which are supposed to help poor and low-income individuals) and an additional $6 to $7 billion in improper child tax credit payments.

.
————————————————————————————————————————–
.

Related video:

.

.

.

Social Security Administration Approved Disability Benefits For Puerto Ricans Because They Can’t Speak English

Feds Consider Puerto Ricans Disabled Because They Speak Spanish – Washington Free Beacon

.

.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) approved disability benefits for hundreds of Puerto Ricans because they do not speak English, despite the fact that Puerto Rico is a predominantly Spanish-speaking territory.

According to a new audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the agency is misapplying rules that are intended to provide financial assistance to individuals who are illiterate or cannot speak English in the United States. Under the rules, Puerto Ricans are allowed to receive disability benefits for their inability to speak English as well.

“We found the Agency did not make exceptions regarding the English-language grid rules for claimants who reside in Puerto Rico, even though Spanish is the predominant language spoken in the local economy,” the OIG said.

The audit said a person applying for disability in Puerto Rico who cannot speak English “may increase his/her likelihood of receiving disability benefits.”

The agency does not currently have a system in place to keep track of the number of beneficiaries who receive disability insurance for not being able to speak English.

However, the OIG was able to identify 218 cases between 2011 and 2013 where Puerto Ricans were awarded disability due to “an inability to communicate in English.” Furthermore, 4 percent of disability hearings in Puerto Rico involved looking at the individual’s ability to speak, read, write, and understand English.

Though 95 percent of Puerto Ricans speak Spanish at home, according to the rules a Spanish-speaking nurse in Puerto Rico would be considered “unskilled,” the OIG said.

The SSA told the OIG that the rules are applied one-size-fits-all.

“SSA managers at various disability decision levels stated Social Security is a national program, and the grids must be applied to the national economy, regardless of local conditions,” the audit said.

The SSA takes into account an individual’s education level when considering awarding disability benefits if they do not qualify for medical reasons. Part of the education requirement involves looking at a person’s ability to speak English, to determine whether it limits his ability to find a job.

Last year Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) raised concerns that the Obama administration was broadly applying the education rule under the Social Security Act to allow individuals to receive disability payments solely because they cannot speak English.

He noted that the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) rolls swelled 230 percent between 2000 and 2010, while the U.S. population only grew 9.7 percent.

Former SSA judges have also testified that individuals have been approved for disability in the United States without having to prove they cannot speak English.

The hundreds of Puerto Ricans noted in the OIG’s report have received disability insurance despite a 1987 U.S. District Court ruling that appears to contradict the SSA’s policy. Benefits were denied on the grounds that “it is the ability to communicate in Spanish, not English, that is vocationally important in Puerto Rico.”

“It should be noted, however, that the court explicitly declined to apply this rationale outside of this one case,” the OIG said.

The SSA agreed with the OIG’s recommendations to figure out how many individuals have been “awarded disability based on their inability to communicate in English,” and to “evaluate the appropriateness” of applying the English-speaking rules to Puerto Rico.

The SSA is currently gathering information for a proposed regulation that “could lead to changes” to the English-speaking rule, the agency said.

“Specifically, we are soliciting public comments and supporting research on how the inability to communicate in English affects an individual’s ability to adjust to other work that exists in the national economy,” the SSA said.

.

.

*VIDEOS* Edward L. Daley: The Top 25 Anti-Obama Vids I’ve Created Since November 4, 2008

PRESENTED IN REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

OBAMA COMMENTS ON NETANYAHU’S ADDRESS TO CONGRESS

.
OBAMA REPEATEDLY DECLARES EXECUTIVE AMNESTY UNCONSTITUTIONAL

.
BARACK OBAMA – DUMBASS

.
BARACK OBAMA’S INEPT MIDDLE EAST POLICIES (PART 1)

.
BARACK OBAMA’S INEPT MIDDLE EAST POLICIES (PART 2)

.
BOWE BERGDAHL: A CASE STUDY IN DESERTION (PART 1)

.
BOWE BERGDAHL: A CASE STUDY IN DESERTION (PART 2)

.
BARACK OBAMA’S WEEKLY ADDRESS: THE MINIMUM WAGE

.
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S 2014 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS – CONDENSED VERSION

.
OBAMA’S SEQUESTER FLIP-FLOP

.
OBAMA ADMITS HE’S IRRESPONSIBLE AND UNPATRIOTIC

.
BENGHAZI: LIES, DAMNED LIES AND DEAD AMERICANS

.
HOW’S THAT OBAMACONOMY TREATING YOU?

.
BARACK OABAMA: AMERICA’S FIRST GAY PRESIDENT

.
EVERY TIME BARACK OBAMA LIES…

.
BARACK OBAMA DEFENDED INFANTICIDE

.
STFU BARACK OBAMA

.
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S WEEKLY ADDRESS: THE AMERICAN JOBS ACT

.
ANOTHER BARACK OBAMA WTF MOMENT

.
OBAMACARE

.
OBAMA’S FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE – PLUS RUBIN’S SONG

.
V FOR VACUOUS

.
THE OBAMA ZONE

.
THE 12 DAYS OF OBAMA

.
BARACK OBAMA IS ELECTED PRESIDENT

.

.

Maryland Obamacare Exchange Wrongly Billed U.S. Taxpayers $28M

MD’s Exchange Wrongly Billed U.S. Taxpayers $28M – Sweetness & Light

.

.
From the United Press International:

Audit shows Maryland health exchange improperly billed $28.4 million

March 27, 2015

WASHINGTON (UPI) – Maryland’s health insurance exchange improperly billed the federal government $28.4 million, a Department of Health and Human Services audit reported Friday.

In another patented Friday evening news dump.

An inspector general’s probe found a lack of oversight and internal controls, not criminal wrongdoing, was the cause of the exchange’s problems since the marketplace opened in 2013.

Their incompetence seems to border on criminality.

The Maryland Health Connection was among the first state exchanges approved by the federal government, but its website crashed on its first day of operation and it experienced numerous software problems and feuds between contractors.

The entire technological infrastructure of the exchange was scrapped in 2014 and replaced by a platform used by Connecticut’s exchange.

In other words, it was a typical Obama-Care success story. By the way, wouldn’t Maryland’s governor make a great President?

The audit said the state used a 2013 and 2014 federal grant to cover the exchange’s costs when it should have used funds from a Medicaid program jointly financed by Maryland and the federal government…

We’re sure it was an innocent mistake. The state wouldn’t want to try to cheat the federal taxpayers in other states.

The audit found two accounting errors, a $15.9 million misallocation caused by out-of-date enrollment data, and $12.5 million through an unidentified contractor’s incorrect calculations.

It recommended Maryland pay back the $28.4 million, then apply for the actual amount due it from the federal government…

Don’t hold your breath.

.

.

Department Of Veterans Affairs Official Paid $288K In ‘Relocation Payments’ To Move 140 Miles

VA Official Paid $288K In ‘Relocation Payments’ To Move 140 Miles – Daily Caller

.

.
The director of the Philadelphia VA regional benefits office was paid $288,000 in “relocation payments” to move the 140 miles from Washington, D.C. to her new home last year.

Diana Rubens was tapped last June to take over the Philadelphia regional benefits office, which is one of many VA hospitals and benefits offices currently being investigated over benefits claims.

Rubens, who previously served as the D.C.-based deputy undersecretary for field operations, where she oversaw 57 regional offices, was brought in to help fix the embattled Philadelphia facility.

A breakdown of Rubens’ “relocation payments” was not immediately available, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, but a VA spokesman said that there was nothing inappropriate with the spending.

Federal regulations allow for the reimbursement of relocation expenses including the “costs of house-hunting, moving, terminating leases, and a per-diem rate for meals and temporary housing for an employee and his or her family,” the spokesman said.

But that hefty repayment is nearly 160 percent of what Rubens earned in base pay all of last year, raising questions over what exactly that money could have gone towards.

Rubens was paid more than $181,000 in 2014, according to the website FedSmith.com, which maintains a database of federal employee compensation.

“The government shouldn’t be in the business of doling out hundreds of thousands in cash to extremely well-compensated executives just to move less than three hours down the road,” Florida Rep. Jeff Miller, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, told the Inquirer.

“For VA to pay such an outrageous amount in relocation expenses at a time when the department is continually telling Congress and taxpayers it needs more money raises questions about VA’s commitment to fiscal responsibility, transparency and true reform.”

Rubens has been mentioned before in articles criticizing other money she’s been paid by the VA. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, in 2011, she received a bonus of more than $23,000 even though patient backlogs – one area Rubens was in charge of managing – increased by 300,000.

The Washington Examiner reported last year that Rubens received more than $97,000 in bonuses between 2007 and 2011 even though the average time to process veterans’ claims doubled to 325 days on her watch. The ratio of backlogged cases nearly doubled as well, from 37 percent in 2009 to 71 percent in 2013.

.

.

Hallelujah! Unemployment Plunges Due To 354,000 Americans Leaving The Workforce (James Quinn)

Hallelujah! Unemployment Plunges Due To 354,000 Americans Leaving The Workforce – James Quinn

.

.
This shit is almost too funny to read. The Bureau of Lies & Scams (BLS) just issued their seasonally adjusted, excel spreadsheet enhanced, monthly propaganda data for February. They have the balls to report that an economy that is hemorrhaging energy jobs, seeing retailers close stores by the hundreds, has seen manufacturing new orders decline for six straight months, has corporate profits falling, has real median household income sitting at 1989 levels and has seen 80% of all economic reports miss to the downside is creating 295,000 new jobs in the middle of the coldest, snowiest February in years. The BLS uses classic government logic. When in doubt, lie.

.

.
Of course, the BLS is still using their excel spreadsheet Birth Death model to add 132,000 phantom jobs into the calculation for all the small business hiring going on out there. It has already been documented that there are more businesses closing than opening in the US. This adjustment is a farce. It is untrue. It is more likely to be negative 132,000, which would eliminate virtually all the new jobs just reported. As usual the household survey reports an entirely different result than the blaring positive headlines in the corporate mainstream media.

A critical thinking person might wonder how the labor participation rate could go even lower (37 year lows) if the unemployment rate just reached a seven year low of 5.5%. The BLS counts on the faux journalists at CNBC and Marketwatch to not think critically. So you need to go elsewhere for some truth. Here it is:

* Here is the blunt truth. Last month there were 148.2 million working age Americans working and 101.5 million working age Americans not working. This month there are 148.3 million working age Americans working and 101.6 million working age Americans not working. Does that sound like progress or stagnation?

* The BLS expects you to believe that in the midst of a supposed economic recovery, 354,000 working age Americans decided to leave the workforce in one month because their financial situation is so sound. How stupid do they think we are, or are they so incompetent with their models and measurements that they just make this shit up?

* We should be so proud. The 92.9 million Americans not in the labor force is an all-time record. Who needs a job when you can “earn” a $50,000 per year life on welfare or SSDI. Working is for suckers.

.

.

* What are the 1.5 million working age Americans who left the workforce in the last 12 months doing? What are the 13 million working age Americans who have left the workforce since 2008 doing?

* Since 2008 we’ve added 3 million jobs, while 13 million people have supposedly left the workforce, and the unemployment rate is supposedly lower today than it was in 2008. So the working age population is up by 16 million, we only have 3 million more jobs, but the unemployment rate has fallen from 5.8% to 5.5%. This is simply hysterical. The blatant lies, manipulation and utter bullshit is mind boggling in its outright dishonesty.

* How come the household survey says there are only 96,000 more people employed than in January, but the blaring headline only proclaims the 295,000 from the other survey? Propaganda at its finest.

But at least we’re adding those high paying service jobs for waitresses, fry cooks, social services workers and retail clerks. They accounted for 45% of the jobs added. Services accounted for 259,000 of the 295,000 supposed jobs added. At least all these workers can glory in the 1.97% wage increase they’ve earned in the last year. I’m sure that is going a long way in paying those Obamacare premium increases and 10% rise in food costs.

Government reports are like the American Dream. You have to be asleep to believe them.

.

.

Department Of Education Employees Caught Stealing Students’ Personal Information To Apply For Credit Cards, Loans

Fraudsters In Department Of Education Are Caught Stealing Students’ Personal Information To Apply For Loans And Cellphones, And One Worker Looked Up Barack Obama’s Student Loan Records – Daily Mail

.

.
Government employees have been caught stealing students’ personal information to apply for loans, credit cards and set up new cell phone accounts,Daily Mail Online has learned.

Reports on breaches of staff conduct inside the Department of Education shows how workers stole social security numbers from a database while a man was fired for trying to look up President Barack Obama’s student loan records.

Cyber security campaigners warned that the failure to protect sensitive information because of ‘bureaucratic incompetence’ is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Insiders involved in illicit breaches are often overlooked, simply because the public think hackers and cybercriminals are more often to blame, they said.

Lee Tien, senior staff attorney and Adams Chair for Internet Rights at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Daily Mail Online ‘insiders are frequently part of the breach story’.

He added that entities – especially the government – need to uphold their duty to safeguard other people’s personal information.

Berin Szoka, the president of Tech Freedom, insisted some of the privacy issues come from within the government.

‘As usual, the real privacy problem is government. Big Brother surveillance at the NSA is bad enough,’ he told the Daily Mail Online.

‘But bureaucratic incompetence can be far bigger problem. Failing to protect sensitive student loan data is just the tip of the iceberg of poor data security inside government.’

According to the documents – obtained by the Daily Mail Online through a Freedom of Information Act request – a number of government employees set up an illicit scheme to steal students’ information.

One woman created a bogus Department of Education account to access the National Student Loan Data System to aid her criminal plot.

While accessing the records, she would extract information from individual accounts.

She swapped around the last four digits of her SSN with those of another during the scheme, and set up the fake identity to apply for credit cards, personal loans and set up a Sprint cell phone account.

An internal investigation within the department found she went into the database 24 times between 2006 and 2009 to retrieve the information.

Just 24 hours after searching through the database on one occasion in 2009, the documents revealed she applied for a personal loan.

The unidentified employee was arrested and charged in 2011 for stealing more than $500 using the stolen details.

One of the documents related to her case reads: ‘It appears [the employee] did not have a business reason to run either name in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).’

After pleading guilty, she was sentenced to 18 months in jail with a 17-month suspended sentence. However, according to the documents, the employee only served a month in prison and was then given authorized work by a judge.

It’s not known what happened to the other staff members involved in the scheme.

In 2011, a man violated department protocols by trying to access ‘Barrack [sic] Obama’s student loans records. According to the documents he consistently spelled the president’s name wrong – using two ‘r’s.

The employee involved was not prosecuted, but lost his job after departmental staff also discovered he had misused his government-issued travel card.

It is not clear why he tried to access the records as Obama has made the majority of his financial history public knowledge.

He paid off his student loans in in 2004 while he was in the Illinois State Senate. He took out $42,753 in loans to pay for his Harvard Law School tuition while Michelle applied for $40,762 in loans for her Harvard Law education.

The couple carried their debt for 25 years, but the president is believed to have paid it off using $1.9million worth of royalties from his book, Dreams of My Father. It was reissued and became a best seller after his speech at the Democratic convention in 2004.

A third Department of Education employee was investigated in 2014 for using his government email to promote his own business at the taxpayers’ expense. Some of the documents involved have been heavily redacted.

The analysis revealed there were approximately 166 calls totaling 616 minutes or approximately 10 hours of calls during on-duty hours. His calls cost the government approximately $478.36 based on his hourly salary.

He admitted that he shouldn’t have used government equipment – including a scanner, printer, phone and email – for his own personal gain, but it’s not clear what type of business he was operating or whether he was punished.

Another part of the document trove described the investigation into Joseph Butler, a veteran department employee from Clarkstown, Georgia, who accessed child pornography for years.

According to reports he was able to filter his computer activity and get around filtering software preventing government staff from visiting illicit websites.

More than 70 disturbing images were founded embedded in several Microsoft Word documents that were then saved to his government computer.

His Internet browsing history also revealed he had searched for child nudity and pornography.

Butler used his computer to download images onto CD-ROMs, which federal agents found during a search of his home in July 2011. Agents also found graphic stories Butler had written about children.

He is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence. When he is released he will have to sign up to the sex offenders register and completed five years of supervision.

The Department of Education did not comment on the revelations.

However a report in 2015 addressing ‘management challenges’ highlighted ‘repeated problems in IT security and noted increasing threats and vulnerabilities to the Department’s systems and data.’

The document said more steps needed to be taken to make sure federal employees did not breach the database.

One of the factors considered was a two-step authorization process – but it is yet to be implemented.

In September 2013 the Office of the Inspector General – who oversee the Department’s management – warned officials there were weaknesses led to ‘unauthorized accesses to private information.’

.

.