USDA Paid $36 Million in Aid Money to Dead Farmers for Four Years

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Thousands of deceased farmers were paid millions of dollars in aid by the federal government, according to a new report (pdf) from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).


The GAO audited the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) crop insurance, disaster assistance and conservation programs and uncovered $36.6 million was issued to dead recipients over a four-year period.


The biggest mistakes were made by USDA's Risk Management Agency, which issues crop insurance. Between 2008 and 2012, the agency paid 3,434 policyholders a combined $22 million in subsidies one or two years after their death.


Similar mistakes were made by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which paid out $10.6 million to 1,103 individuals one year or more after their death, and the Farm Service Agency, which provided $3.3 million in disaster relief subsidies to 1,799 deceased farmers since 2007.


“It is appalling to learn that bureaucrats didn’t match the names of the recipients of crop insurance with the Social Security Administration’s master list of deceased individuals,” Scott Faber of The Environmental Working Group told The Hill. “This irresponsible use of scarce taxpayer dollars reinforces just how broken the system is and how badly it is in need of reform.”


“While the abuse represents a fraction of the $20 billion in annual federal subsidies for farm incomes, the report comes at a sensitive time when Congress is fighting over the cost of a yet-to-be-passed $1-trillion farm bill,” David Pierson wrote at the Los Angeles Times.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

USDA Improperly Pays Millions to Dead Farmers, Audit Finds (by David Pierson, Los Angeles Times)

GAO: Dead Farmers Might be Reaping Millions in Subsidies (by Erik Wasson, The Hill)

Farm Programs: USDA Needs to Do More to Prevent Improper Payments to Deceased Individuals (U.S. Government Accountability Office) (pdf)

Government Funds Still Available after You Die (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Social Security Has Paid Millions of Dollars to 1,760 Dead People Since 2008 (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)              

Obama Orders Agencies to Stop Paying Dead People (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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