A new report by the investigative arm of US Congress has made shocking exposure about the improper payments done by the federal agencies in 2014, showing a record USD 125 billion in questionable benefits were shell out after years of declines.
The improper payments by the federal agencies rose by USD 19 billion over the previous year, as per the latest report by the Government Accountability Office.
Among the improper payments include medicare payments for likely unnecessary treatments, tax credits for ineligible families and jobless benefits for the employed people.
Along with the fraud, the mistakes also included overpayments as well as underpayments and also the payments done without proper documentation.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Committee on US Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said, “This taxpayer money was not spent securing our borders, it was not spent on national defense, and it was not spent contributing to a safety net for those in need. This is a problem that is going to get worse year after year if we do not get a handle on it now.”
A committee presided by Johnson held a hearing on Monday on cutting down the rate of improper payments by the US government agencies.
The errors related to payments were spread among 22 federal agencies, but Medicare, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit were the three programs that stood out among them. The three programs alone accounted for over USD 93 billion in improper payments.
Concerned over the shocking figures, the Obama administration said that lowering the improper federal payments is the government’s top priority.
David Mader, the controller at the budget office of US President Barack Obama, said, “While progress has been made over the years, the time has come for a more aggressive strategy to reduce the levels of improper payments we currently are seeing.”
Some of the other programs showing improper payments:
- Medicaid: USD 17.5 billion
- Medicare Advantage: USD 12.2 billion
- Unemployment insurance: USD 5.6 billion
- Supplemental Security Income: USD 5 billion
- Social Security: USD 3 billion
The federal agencies are required to make estimates of the improper payments done each year as a government-initiate to tackle the issue.
The jump in the amount of improper payments comes after steady declines of three years. The level earlier peaked in 2010 at USD 121 billion before falling to USD 106 billion for the budget year 2013.