Government Funds Still Available after You Die

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Americans still collecting retirement benefits
Employment with the U.S. government can be a lifetime, and beyond, opportunity to make money.
The inspector general with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently uncovered that the agency had made more than $600 million in payments over the last five years to retired civil servants—after they had died.
Yearly payouts to the dead ranged between $100 million and $150 million from 2006 to 2010.
“It is time to stop, once and for all, this waste of taxpayer money,” said Inspector General Patrick McFarland, who previously warned OPM in 2005 and 2008 about checks going out to the departed.
In fact, the problem only has gotten worse with time, with improper payments to dead retirees increasing 70% in the last five years.
OPM has allowed cheaters to defraud the government because it is doing a poor job of tracking the status of retirees, according to McFarland.
John Berry, the director of OPM, told The Washington Post that his agency is actively on the case and the practice will be stopped. “There are bad people in the world who will commit fraud,” he said, “and any program that is administering more than $5 billion a month in benefits needs strong controls.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Change in the Couch: Stop Paying Dead People (by Dana Liebelson, Project on Government Oversight)
Payments to Dead Federal Retirees Over, Agency Says (bu Ed O’Keefe and Lisa Rein, Washington Post)
Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased Annuitants (U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Inspector General) (pdf)
Social Security Has Paid Millions of Dollars to 1,760 Dead People Since 2008 (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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