Improper payments and fraud…..

The federal government made an estimated $124.7 billion in improper payments in fiscal 2014 and has made “almost $1 trillion” in improper payments over the past twelve years, U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, head of the Government Accountability Office, told the Senate Finance Committee last week.

“In fiscal year 2014, agencies reported improper payment estimates totaling $124.7 billion, a significant increase—almost $19 billion—from the prior year’s estimate of $105.8 billion,” Dodaro told the committee in written testimony.

“The almost $19 billion increase was primarily due to the Medicare, Medicaid, and Earned Income Tax Credit programs, which account for over 75 percent of the government-wide improper payment estimate,” he said.

Improper payments can result from errors made by government officials and from fraud.

“An improper payment is defined by statute as any payment that should not have been made or that was made in an incorrect amount (including overpayments and underpayments) under statutory, contractual, administrative, or other legally applicable requirements,” Dodaro explained in his written testimony. “Among other things, it includes payment to an ineligible recipient, payment for an ineligible good or service, and any duplicate payment.”

“Improper payments have consistently been a government-wide issue despite efforts to reduce them and identify root causes, including fraud,” he said.