Federal Govt Pays Hundreds of Millions to Dead Employees

Friday, 23 Sep 2011 03:25 PM

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The federal government continues to send retirement benefits to dead employees to the tune of more than $100 million a year. The Office of Personnel Management paid out more than $600 million in benefits to deceased people during the past five years, according to an inspector general’s report that The Washington Post cites.

Inspector General Patrick McFarland, who previously reported on the improper payments in 2005 and 2008, urged the personnel office to track such mistakes more closely.

“It is time to stop, once and for all, this waste of taxpayer money,” Inspector General Patrick McFarland wrote in the report. McFarland has reported on such payments in 2005 and 2008, the Post reported. Nonetheless, payment to dead retirees increased 70 percent in the past five years.

The report blamed the rise on poor tracking in the Office of Personnel Management. In one case, the son of a dead federal worker received benefits for 37 years after his father died. The personnel office learned of the fraud only after the son died. The amount of improper payments was more than $500,000 and the money was never recovered, the Post reported.

The personnel office is using several methods to stop the abuse including matching its data against the Social Security Administration’s death records and checking records for those 90 years and older to determine whether they are still alive, the Post reported.

In 2010 the government sent out a total of $125 billion in improper payments, a $15 billion jump attributed to increases in unemployment and Medicaid payments. The government recovered about $687 million of the improper payments, the Post reported.


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