The Administration of Barack Obama has ordered the creation of a government-wide “do not pay” database in light of reports that the Federal government makes more than $120 million in payments each year to people who are dead.
According to The Washington Post, over the past five years, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has made between $100 million and $150 million in payments to the annuities of dead Federal employees. The number of improper payments made has increased 70 percent in the past five years, the article said.
Inspector General Patrick E. McFarland attributes the mistake to the OPM’s failure to track individuals who are attempting to cheat the system by continuing to collect benefits after a family member’s death.
The OPM is reportedly attempting to stop and recoup payments in several ways, including conducting weekly and annual matches of its data against the Social Security Administration’s death records and occasionally checking records for annuitants 90 years and older to determine whether they are still alive.
In total the Federal government mistakenly paid out about $125 billion in fiscal 2010 as unemployment insurance and Medicaid payments increased. Agencies reportedly recovered about $687 million mistakenly paid to delinquent government contractors and beneficiaries.