Management

Improper payments by agencies on the decline

Improper Payments Reform

Improper payments are on the decline across federal agencies, according to a Nov. 21 blog post from Danny Werfel, Controller of the Office of Management and Budget.

Werfel said federal agencies saved over $47 billion in improper payments since 2009, "almost hitting the President's ambitious goal of avoiding $50 billion in improper payments by the end of (fiscal year) 2012," as government-wide error rates decreased to 4.3 percent from a “high-water mark” of 5.4 percent in 2009.

Werfel defined improper payments as "those Federal payments that are made in the wrong amount, to the wrong entity, or for the wrong purpose," and credited Obama's signing of the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act and his issuance of an executive order in 2010 to improve transparency by holding agency officials accountable for improper payments.

"When the President took office, the rate of wasteful government-wide improper payments was on the rise," Werfel said in the post. "Across the board, Federal agencies are taking targeted steps to combat erroneous payments."

Werfel said federal agencies recaptured $4.4 billion in overpayments to contractors since 2009 –- more than doubling the president's goal -- and credited the Medicare Fee-for-Service Recovery Audit Contractor program for much of that success. He added that when Defense Department commercial payments are factored in, total improper payments avoided since 2009 climbs to about $70 billion.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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