Underground bunker dubbed the ‘crazy cave’ where 600 workers process government pensions by HAND – and one case takes 61 days!
By DANIEL BATES
PUBLISHED: 16:18, 23 March 2014 | UPDATED: 16:22, 23 March 2014
Six hundred workers are processing government pension papers in an underground bunker entirely by hand in a staggering example of state inefficiency that is costing taxpayers millions.
Staff at what has been dubbed the ‘Crazy Cave’ take up to 61 days just to deal with one single case because of the archaic process that is the same speed as 37 years ago.
Each file is sent in on paper, entered into a computer, printed out on paper – and then put back into a computer again.
Endless: The underground cavern where hundreds of workers process government forms by hand
Bosses have been asking for things to be automated since 1979 but nothing has been done despite $100m being spent to see if it was possible.
The cave is so badly run that the cost of processing each claim – at least 100,000 a year – has even increased from $82 to $108 over the years.
Federal retirees also suffer because it takes months for them to get their benefit cheques whereas it should take a matter of days.
The cave is located in Boyers, PA, and in its report the Washington Post called it the ‘sinkhole of bureaucracy’, noting that among government workers in America it has taken on the status of a near urban myth.
The site sits 230ft below the surface and is a room the size of a supermarket with enough space for cabinets that can house 28,000 files.
The US government bought it in 1958 to hold personnel files that were being relocated and leased the site after it had been developed by a private company.
Highly secretive: The ‘crazy cave’ is tucked away in a secluded spot in rural Pennsylvania
Today it is owned by Iron Mountain, which has other caverns in the same mountain that it uses to store old Hollywood film reels.