GAO Report: USDA Subsidizing Dead Farmers
July 30, 2013 by Sam Rolley
The U.S. Department of Agriculture paid our more than $32 million in crop insurance and soil and conservation payments to farmers who are dead between 2008 and 2012, according to the findings of a recent Government Accountability Office Report.
GAO said the payments were made because the USDAâ€™s Risk Management Agency and Environmental Working Group failed to check master lists compiled by the government to assure payments go only to living recipients.
The GAO said of the findings : â€śUSDA spends about $20 billion annually on federal programs that support farm income, conserve natural resources, and help farmers manage risks from natural disasters, benefiting over 1 million participants. Given their cost and continuing nationwide budget pressures, these programs have come under increasing scrutiny. One concern has been the distribution of benefits to ineligible participants, including potentially improper payments to deceased individuals, which, as GAO and others have reported, may call into question whether these farm safety net programs are benefiting the agricultural sector as intended.â€ť
This isnâ€™t the first time GAO has discovered USDA payments being made to dead farmers. A 2007 GAO report listed $1.1 billion in farm payments over six years to people who were not living.