No pulse, no pay: How the 'Do Not Pay' list will work

New measures aim to reduce federal benefit payments to ineligible recipients

Vice President Joe Biden has announced the creation of a comprehensive federal Do Not Pay List of contractors and individuals ineligible to receive payments from the government.

The goal of the Do Not Pay List is to reduce improper payments to dead people, debarred contractors, individuals found guilty of federal tax fraud, fugitives and felons, Biden said during a White House briefing. Federal improper payments totaled $110 billion in fiscal 2009, including $180 million paid to 20,000 deceased Americans and $230 million to fugitives or incarcerated felons.

The Do Not Pay List will be distributed to all federal agencies to review and to check against their pre-payment procedures, Biden said.

“We are making sure payments are not going to the deceased, and payments are no longer going to suspended contractors,” Biden said. “There will be no IRS payments to defrauders, and no benefits for excluded parties.”

Related stories

DHS officials reluctant to suspend, debar contractors

Obama to contractors: report ARRA money or else

The White House issued the memorandum today directing that the list be established.

The list will provide “a single source through which all agencies can check the status of a potential contractor or individual,” White House budget director Peter Orszag wrote in a blog entry today. “Too often, an agency does not check all the different databases the government has or finds it difficult to do so. This denies agencies essential information they need to determine, for example, if an individual is alive or dead or if a contractor had been debarred.”

Biden and Orszag also said that new software fraud-fighting tools are being used to audit federal spending data and search for discrepancies. The software tools were first applied for risk management of economic stimulus law spending by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, and now will be applied more broadly, initially for the Medicare and Medicaid programs, Orszag said.

Medicare and Medicaid together accounted for $65 billion of the improper payments, including $47 billion for Medicare.

An OMB source said today that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is applying the anti-fraud software tool from the recovery board in a pilot application. If successful, there will be a competitive bidding process to select a contractor to provide that tool or similar tools, the source said. The name of the software vendor was not immediately available today.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.


  • Congress
    U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock)

    Funding bill clears Congress, heads for president's desk

    The $1.3 trillion spending package passed the House of Representatives on March 22 and the Senate in the early hours of March 23. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, securing government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

  • 2018 Fed 100

    The 2018 Federal 100

    This year's Fed 100 winners show just how much committed and talented individuals can accomplish in federal IT. Read their profiles to learn more!

  • Census
    How tech can save money for 2020 census

    Trump campaign taps census question as a fund-raising tool

    A fundraising email for the Trump-Pence reelection campaign is trying to get supporters behind a controversial change to the census -- asking respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.