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Frequently Asked Questions

  • U.S. AbilityOne Commission

    The AbilityOne Program is one of the largest sources of employment in the United States for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Through the Program, approximately 40,000 Americans who are blind or have significant disabilities are employed in jobs that furnish nearly $4 billion in products and services to the Federal Government annually. 

    The Commission is composed of 15 members appointed by the President. The Commission has designated National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and SourceAmerica as central nonprofit agencies (CNAs) that help administer the AbilityOne Program, which includes approximately 450 nonprofit agencies (NPAs) providing employment to individuals who are blind or significantly disabled in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

    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.


  • First, please remember OIG questions are designed simply to determine the facts. Feel free to ask us before or at the beginning of an interview if you have questions or concerns. We request that you cooperate fully with OIG audits and investigations, which means providing information relating to the performance of your job-related duties.  If an employee determines not to answer questions or produce documents on request, the OIG may report the matter to the employee's supervisor, and continue raising the matter to the Chairman or Congress until cooperation is received.  Employees are also responsible for reporting violations, or suspected violations, of the law or any abuse, waste, mismanagement or irregular activities regarding AbilityOne programs to the Office of Inspector General. 

    Keep in mind that cooperating with an OIG audit or investigation does not limit an individual's Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate oneself. In addition, Federal laws protect employees from reprisal by employers for "blowing the whistle" on illicit activity.  For more information about whistleblower protection, please click on our "Am I a Whistleblower" tab.  You may also go to this website U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), or review this OSC pamphlet,“Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs.”

  • We provide our audit reports to the U.S. AbilityOne Commission and to the appropriate Congressional committees as soon as they are completed. We also publish semiannual reports that summarize recent activities including outreach, legal or statutory issues impacting the program, as well as audits and investigations.  

  • For Audits, some are required by law. Others are requested by key decisionmakers, such as a Commissioner of AbilityOne or a member of Congress. We also establish our own audit priorities by getting ideas from a variety of sources to build a two-year Audit Plan. For instance, we solicit input from the AbilityOne Commission staff regarding areas they think could benefit from an objective examination. Some audits are added to the plan as a result of our own continuous research, internal brainstorming sessions, collaboration with our Office of Investigations, and an assessment of the Commission’s top challenges. We also perform a number of mandatory audits pursuant to laws and regulations.

    The input from stakeholders along with our research helps us produce a comprehensive and flexible audit plan with a focus on projects that provide AbilityOne management with the valuable information they need to address the emerging strategic issues and challenges they are facing.

    Please see our two-year audit plan for more information.

    For Investigations, we may open a matter after a referral from another agency, including another OIG, or when we suspect a pattern of criminal behavior, or based on complaints made to the OIG Hotline Portal.

  • The Office of Investigations conducts criminal, civil, and administrative investigations affecting AbilityOne and its programs and operations.  Investigations may include procurement fraud schemes, employee integrity violations, and other matters. The Office of Investigations also investigates whistleblower complaints, including those referred by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

    Allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse concerning AbilityOne programs and operations are received from various sources, including:

    • Hotline complaints from AbilityOne employees, grantees, contractors and members of the public via our hotline portal

    • Referrals from Government entities, including other law enforcement agencies, Congress, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the Government Accountability Office, and AbilityOne officials

    • Internal OIG audit referrals, investigative analyses, and other compelling sources

    • Qui Tam lawsuits referred for investigation by the Department of Justice

    Allegations are not automatically converted to investigations; they are first reviewed to determine if OIG investigative attention is warranted.  Review includes determining:

    • Is the matter within OIG's jurisdiction

    • Is the allegation credible (for example, reasonably detailed)

    • Would the allegation constitute a violation of a Statute, Regulation, or Policy

    • What is the best way to address it - through OIG criminal, civil, or administrative investigation, or referral to another Government agency

    Investigations are conducted through a variety of activities, including record reviews and document analysis; witness and subject interviews; IG and grand jury subpoenas; search warrants; special techniques, such as consensual monitoring and undercover operations; and coordination with other law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, as appropriate.

    Upon completing an investigation, reports and other documents may be written for use by senior decision makers and other stakeholders, including prosecuting attorneys and AbilityOne management.

    • Results of OIG’s administrative investigations, such as employee and program integrity cases, are transmitted to the AbilityOne Commission for appropriate action

    • OIG’s criminal and civil cases are pursued by U.S. Attorney Offices nationwide. Criminal cases can also be prosecuted by State and other local jurisdictions

    • Matters involving non profit agencies within the AbiltyOne program may be referred to the Commission for suspension or debarment decisions

  • Yes! Our audit reports may find that a program is working effectively while still adding recommendations.  Similarly, a Report of Investigation may be issued or closed with a note to file that finds no violations by the subject. 

  • Most audit reports are made public and are available on the reports section of our website.  Some audits may be redacted if they contain sensitive information.    

  • Whistleblower Rights and Protections

    Whistleblowers perform an important service for the public and the U.S. AbilityOne Commission when they report evidence of wrongdoing.  Reports concerning wrongdoing by AbilityOne employees or within AbilityOne programs can always be submitted directly to the OIG Hotline.

    Wrongdoing Defined

    • Violation of any law, rule or regulation
    • Gross mismanagement
    • Gross waste of funds
    • Abuse of authority
    • Substantial and specific danger to public health or safety

    All AbilityOne employees, contractors, subcontractors, grantees, subgrantees, and personal services contractors are protected from retaliation for making a protected disclosure. If you are an employee of an AbilityOne contractor, subcontractor, grantee, subgrantee, or an AbilityOne personal services contractor, you may submit a retaliation complaint to the OIG Hotline. Under 41 U.S.C. § 4712, it is illegal for an employee of a federal contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee or personal services contractor to be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against for making a protected disclosure. 

    If you have any questions about any of the information on this web page, or are concerned that you have experienced retaliation for whistleblowing, please file a complaint on our hotline.  We also suggest that you consult the web site of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), or review this OSC pamphlet, “Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs.”