The Office of Justice Programsí Implementation of the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefits Act of 2003

Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2008-005
March 2008
Office of the Inspector General


Appendix V
Staffing for the PSOB Program

Table 5: Staffing and Duties for the PSOB Office and Office of
General Counsel as of September 30, 2007

  Position On-Board
Staff
Number of
On-Board Staff
Reviewing Claims
(Hometown Heroes Act)
Duties
PSOB Office Director 1 1 (1) Manages the PSOB Program and staff;
(2) Reviews all case files and may edit draft determinations before they are sent to OGC for legal review;
(3) Presents information about the PSOB Program in various public safety forums and communicates directly with claimants if they ask to speak to her or make a complaint; and
(4) Acts as the Chief of Staff/Deputy Counsel for the BJA Director (estimates that 60 to 70 percent of time is devoted to the PSOB Program).
Senior Benefits Specialist 3 3 (1) Performs the same duties as the Benefits Specialists; and
(2) Reviews case files and may edit the draft determinations prepared by the Benefits Specialists or fellow Senior Benefits Specialists.
Benefits Specialist 3 1 (1) Reviews claim applications and identifies any missing documentation or forms;
(2) Contacts claimants and public safety agencies to request information and documents;
(3) Analyzes the documentation to make a provisional determination on claims; and
(4) Drafts determinations explaining the facts of the cases and reasoning for their decisions.
Paralegal Specialist 1 0 Works exclusively on appealed PSOB claims and arranges claimant hearings, tracks appeals, and acts as a liaison between the BJA and the contractor Hearing Officers.
Administrative Assistant - Control Desk 1 0 (1) Logs every new claim application into a PSOB database;
(2) Assigns a claim number; and
(3) Places the application into a case file.
Office of the General Counsel General Counsel 1 1 (1) Oversees and manages OGC; and
(2) May review claims or offer legal advice to attorneys working on claims.
Deputy General Counsel 4 2 (1) One Deputy General Counsel spends about 50 percent of her time on the PSOB Program and reviews each PSOB case file after it is reviewed by an attorney and before it is returned to the PSOB Office.
(2) A second Deputy General Counsel acts as an advisor to attorneys reviewing PSOB claims and fills in for the other Deputy General Counsel when needed.
Staff Attorney 16 11 (1) Reviews all types of PSOB claims, including death claims filed under the Hometown Heroes Act;
(2) Edits draft determinations prepared by the PSOB Office; and
(3) Requests additional documentation from the claimant through the PSOB Office. (Staff attorneys estimate that they spend 20 to 40 percent of their time reviewing PSOB claims.)
Contract Attorney 1 1 Conducts the same duties as staff attorneys but works full time on Hometown Heroes Act claims.
Paralegal Specialist 2 0 (1) Logs all PSOB case files in and out of the office;
(2) Assigns claims to attorneys; and
(3) Sometimes acts as a legal advisor to Hearing Officers during the appeal process.
(4) Only one Paralegal Specialist is assigned to the PSOB Program.
Contract Pathologist Pathologist 1 1 (1) Reviews the autopsy report, toxicology report, and any medical records from the decedent’s physicians;
(2) Responds to a list of questions about the case prepared by OJP OGC; and
(3) Prepares a report on the claim for OJP.



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