Sequestration cuts hampered the Office of Personnel Management's ability to reduce the backlog of federal retirement claims, OPM Associate Director for Retirement Services Ken Zawodny told the House Oversight Committee May 9. Because of the cuts, OPM banned overtime for employees processing federal retirement claims.
The Social Security Administration needs to work with other state and federal agencies and share data to make sure social security payments are made properly, Office of Federal Financial Management Controller Daniel Werfel told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee May 8. There are data connections, Werfel said, such as if a worker is getting direct deposit from an employer it means that person is alive, but if a person hasn't used their Medicare in three years, it's likely they're dead.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services state-level Medicaid payment error rates could be invalid because CMS did not update state data collected more than 2 years ago to reflect corrections or adjustments in the way error rates are calculated, a recently released March 29 Government Accountability Office report says (.pdf).
A 21 to 25 percent improper payment rate at the Internal Revenue Service's earned income tax credit program puts the agency out of compliance with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, which requires agencies report improper payment rates of less than 10 percent.
The update , posted by the Office of Management and Budget March 12 on performance.gov, shows mixed results in those cross-agency goals and provides information on 103 agency-specific priority goals.
The Internal Revenue Service doesn't have a reliable process to assess its risk of making improper payments in revenue programs, says the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The audit found that the risk assessment process gave reasonable results for the 12 IRS administrative programs, but did not accurately reflect the risk of improper payments in the 16 revenue program funds.
The government has avoided $47 billion in improper payments over the past three years, dropping its error rate in payments to contractors and to those using government programs to 4.3 percent from a high of 5.4 percent in fiscal 2009, says the White House.When including the Defense Department's commercial payments, the total savings would reach $70 billion and the government-wide error rate would be just 3.7 percent.
The United States Postal Service paid three employees well above the legal limit in 2011, says the USPS office of inspector general. In its report, OIG says the Postal Service paid a total of $110,011 above salary caps for the calendar year 2011, because it failed to request permission to make some payments and also exceeded established limits.
Medicaid issued $21.9 billion in improper payments in fiscal 2011, but the program's improper payment rate of 8.1 percent in fiscal 2011 was still an improvement from the 9.4 percent improper payment
Despite continued attention from government watchdogs, high rates of improper payments by government agencies continue in part because they are often viewed as a cost of doing business, according to