A new report by the Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general say the federal government has paid out over $600 million in benefits in the past five years to dead people. The money was meant to go to retired or disabled federal workers.
The AP reports the main part of the problem is that families don’t always tell the government when the deaths occur. Sometimes this is to their benefit. In one case, a son of a recipient took in $515,000 over the course of 37 years. The waste was only discovered after the son died.
The inspector general laid out 14 recommendations for fixing the holes in the system. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) says they’ve already adopted 10 of the proposals. Some of the methods include cross-referencing their database with Social Security death records, checking out tax records, and speeding up death reporting.
“Though we have implemented many positive reforms, I remain deeply committed to keeping this a top priority and to working with our IG to ensure the proper internal controls are in place to protect the taxpayers and our employees and retirees,” OPM’s director told the AP in a written statement.