Improper Payments by Federal Government Drop…to $106 Billion a Year

Friday, July 11, 2014

Efforts in Washington to reduce the amount of federal tax dollars being improperly paid out is now down to only $100 billion annually, or so that’s how the Obama administration sees it.


Officials are insisting the news is good, considering the total of improper payments has been going down since 2010, when they peaked at $121 billion.


Such payments can consist of checks for unemployment compensation (to those with jobs) or medical payments for elective procedures or tax breaks to unqualified persons or businesses.


But some Republicans insist the government must do more to stop wasting so much money.


“Nobody knows exactly how much taxpayer money is wasted through improper payments, but the federal government’s own astounding estimate is more than half a trillion dollars over the past five years,” Representative John Mica (R-Florida), chairman of House Oversight subcommittee on government operations, told the Washington Times. “The fact is, improper payments are staggeringly high in programs designed to help those most in need — children, seniors and low-income families.”


Last year, the government made somewhere between $97 billion and $106 billion in overpayments.


The positive spin put out by the White House budget office was mitigated by assertions from the Government Accountability Office, which told Congress that the administration may be underestimating the true costs of overpayments.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Government Made $100B in Improper Payments (by Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press)

Agencies’ $106 Billion in Improper Payments an Ongoing Briar Patch (by Charles Clark, Government Executive)


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