Management

Obama signs Do Not Pay legislation

GSA

The Social Security Administration's Death Master File is key resource for agencies seeking to avoid improper payments.

President Obama signed a bill on Jan. 10 to establish the Do Not Pay Initiative, aimed at minimizing improper payments by the government.

The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act (H.R. 4053) also clarifies requirements for agencies to use improper payment information to determine program or award eligibility, and expands Office of Management and Budget responsibilities in the effort to eliminate and recover improper payments.

The law instructs agencies to check several databases, such as the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File and the General Services Administration’s Excluded Parties List System, before sending out payments or making awards. It also allows for inter-agency data use agreements.

OMB must report annually on whether the initiative has worked to reduce improper payments, and on how frequently the government has had to make corrections to wrong information in the databases.

The new law builds on previous efforts to reduce improper payments. Agencies are sending fewer such payments since 2009, OMB reported in November, saving the government more than $47 billion in that time.

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Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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