A government watchdog group reported that $136.7 billion dollars were spent by federal agencies on “improper payments” during Fiscal Year 2015.
According to the report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Tuesday, 122 federal programs were involved in the massive spending waste.
Out of the total $136.7 billion spent on improper payments in 2015, roughly $132 billion was attributed to payments from 52 programs associated with 15 federal agencies.
The GAO projects that improper payments from at least 112 agency programs could reach $144.3 billion in 2016.
Improper payments occur when funds go to the wrong recipient, when a recipient receives too little or too much money, when payment documentation is not available, or when “the recipient uses federal funds in an improper manner,” according to the Payment Accuracy website.
Between the years of 2003 to 2016, improper payments were estimated at $1.2 trillion, said the report.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security, issued a statement on the shocking statistical revelations, calling it “unacceptable” that the federal government has “wasted” billions of dollars.
“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,” McCaskill said.
Federal agencies are required under the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012 (IPERA) to review all federal programs, identify any that could be prone to improper payments, and report estimates of those improper payments, which 15 of 24 federal agencies neglected to do in 2015, according to the GAO.
The Washington Examiner reports:
Seven of the 24 agencies were found to be noncompliant for three consecutive years: The Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury, and the Small Business Administration and Social Security Administration
Here is a short list of a few of the noncompliant federal programs:
- National School Lunch Program (Department of Agriculture)
- Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women (Department of Agriculture)
- Infants and Children and the School Breakfast Program (Department of Agriculture)
- Earned Income Tax Credit (Department of Treasury)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (Department of Health and Human Services)
Programs with highest amount of improper payments in 2015 include: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, which spent more than $2.5 billion in improper payments; Medicaid, which made $29 billion in improper payments; the Earned Income Tax Credit, which estimated improper payments of $15.6 billion; and Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance, which paid out $5 billion in improper payments.
In the wake of this discovery, the agencies are now required to submit a report to Congress that outlines actionable steps they plan to take to reduce improper payments going forward.
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