On September 30, 2020, DOJ announced NPA Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired Inc., of Wisconsin, had agreed to settle for $1.9 million allegations of false claims and kickbacks
“We are committed to preserving the integrity of the AbilityOne program. False claims on the program exclude blind and significantly disabled workers from opportunities and hinders law-abiding AbilityOne contractors,” said Thomas K. Lehrich, Inspector General of the U.S. AbilityOne Commission. “Working with DOJ and our partners, the Office of Inspector General protects the confidence and public trust in the largest employment program in the nation of blind and significantly disabled workers.”
U.S. AbilityOne Commission
The AbilityOne Program is the largest source of employment in the United States for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Through the AbilityOne Program, over 45,000 Americans who are blind and have significant disabilities are employed in the service, manufacturing, and delivery of over $3.6 billion in federal contracts for products and services to the Federal Government.
The Commission is composed of 15 members appointed by the President. The Commission has designated National Industries for the Blind (NIB), SourceAmerica, and American Foundation for the Blind as central nonprofit agencies (CNAs) to represent and assist the over 500 community-based qualified nonprofit agencies (NPAs) located in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, that provide employment to blind and significantly disabled Americans.
The Office of Inspector General
On December 18, 2015, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (P.L. 114-113) amended the Inspector General Act of 1978 (IG Act) and created the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at AbilityOne as a designated federal entity IG. The OIG is responsible for conducting audits and investigations, recommending policies and procedures that promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of agency resources and programs, and detecting and preventing fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. The IG Act requires the IG to keep the Commission and Congress fully and currently informed about problems and deficiencies in the Commission’s operations and the need for any corrective action.