Govt Agencies Made $236B in Improper Payments, GOA Report Finds

Fifteen separate agencies reported $236 billion in mishandled payments in fiscal 2023, according to a study released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last week.

An organization that monitors spending in Congress calculated that the federal government made “improper payments” totaling about $2 trillion in the most recent fiscal year.

A payment that should not have been made or was made in the incorrect amount was classified as “improper payments.”

According to GAO, agencies stated overpayments accounted for $175 billion, or more than 74% of the total.

While this was a $11 billion drop from fiscal 2022, GAO graphs showed that “improper payments” had increased, on average, during the previous 20 years.

There have been a total of $2.7 trillion in payments since fiscal 2003. According to the GAO, the government has “consistently” dealt with the problem of inappropriate payments.

Agencies have identified several programs as “susceptible” to misdirected payments, so the GAO said the $236 billion projection for fiscal 2023 is merely an estimate.

The General Accounting Office cited the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which is run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the report, Medicare and Medicaid each received $51.1 billion and $50.3 billion, respectively, from the problematic spending that was “concentrated” in five program areas.

The Earned Income Tax Credit received $21.9 billion, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program received $43.6 billion, and the Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness program received $18.7 billion.

A total of $50.1 billion in “improper payments” were attributed to all other programs for which data was available.

According to the General Accounting Office (GAO), fourteen out of twenty-four agencies subject to the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 “complied with applicable improper payment criteria, as reported by their agency inspectors general” in the fiscal year 2022.

This was an increase from the previous year when GAO said that inspectors general had reported compliance from 10 agencies.

GAO has reportedly provided Congress with “numerous” comments and ideas to lessen the occurrence of payment mistakes.