Fifteen federal agencies accounted for 96 percent of the reported $136.7 billion in improper payments throughout the government during the 2015 fiscal year, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.
The spending is in violation of the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA) of 2010. The GAO report had been requested by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, who had co-sponsored the law, The Hill reported.
The law requires agencies to annually review for improper payments.
The law defines an improper payment as any that should not have been made or was made in an incorrect amount (including overpayments and underpayments) under statutory, contractual, administrative, or other legally applicable requirements, The Hill said.
"Billions in taxpayer money is being wasted and that's unacceptable," McCaskill said. "Whatever the political circus in Washington looks like, this is an area where Democrats and Republicans can and should work together, and that's what I plan to do."
The GAO report said: "Fiscal year 2015 marked the fifth year of the implementation of IPERA, which requires (inspector generals) to annually assess and report on whether executive branch agencies complied with six IPERA criteria related to the estimation of improper payments.
"Improper payments have been estimated to total over $1.2 trillion government-wide from 2003 through 2016,
According to the report, seven of the 15 agencies have programs listed as noncompliant for at least three consecutive years, The Hill noted. Those agencies are now required to submit a plan to Congress on what actions will be taken to reduce improper payments and follow IPERA requirements.
Programs listed as noncompliant, include the Department of Agriculture's school breakfast and lunch programs, the Labor Department's unemployment insurance program and the Department of Defense's travel pay program, the website said.
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