16 Jul, 2018
Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief [July 16, 2018]
Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service
Hatch, Garrett Leigh
"The Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA) of 2002 defines improper payments as payments that should not have been made or that were made in an incorrect amount, including both overpayments and underpayments. This definition includes payments made to ineligible recipients, duplicate payments, payments for a good or service not received, and payments that do not account for applicable discounts. Since FY2004, federal agencies have been required to report on the amount of improper payments they issue each year and take steps to address the root causes of the problem. The data show a significant increase in improper payments from FY2007 ($42 billion) to FY2010 ($121 billion), followed by a slight decrease through FY2013 ($106 billion), another increase through FY2016 ($144 billion), and a slight decrease in FY2017 ($141 billion). The data also show that a small subset of programs has accounted for 85% to 98% of the government's total improper payments each year. With this in mind, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13520 in 2009, which requires agencies to take additional measures to reduce the amount of improper payments associated with these 'high-priority' programs. Notably, the executive order requires agencies to identify high-priority programs, develop detailed plans for reducing related improper payments, and establish annual goals against which progress could be measured. Agencies have identified 20 high-priority programs, all but one of which have been reporting data for several years. The data on high-priority programs present mixed results. Nine high-priority programs have showed improvement over time, as indicated by decreasing error rates, while three others have reported no improvement in their error rates. The error rates for the eight remaining high-priority programs have increased since they were first reported. Without further progress in reducing the error rates among high-priority programs the government's total amount of improper payments may continue to exceed $100 billion per fiscal year, as it has since FY2009. Over the period of FY2004 through FY2017, highpriority improper payments have totaled $1.2 trillion and total improper payments have totaled $1.3 trillion."
  • URL
  • Author
    Hatch, Garrett Leigh
  • Publisher
    Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service
  • Report Number
    CRS Report for Congress, R45257
  • Date
    16 Jul, 2018
  • Copyright
    Public Domain
  • Retrieved From
    Via E-mail
  • Format
  • Media Type
  • Subjects
    Politics and government
    Law and justice
  • Resource Group
    Reports (CRS)

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