Uncle Sam Pays Dead People $120M a Year

Report: Office of Personnel Management does a bad job stopping fraud
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2011 11:24 AM CDT
The government has been sending out some checks it shouldn't be.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The government has been paying retirement benefits for a whole lot of dead federal workers, according to a new report from the Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general. Over the past five years, the amount accidentally paid to the dearly departed has jumped a whopping 70%, with $601 million given in total, the Washington Post reports; the exact figures ranged from $100 million to $150 million annually.

The inspector general says the problem is that the OPM has done a poor job of stopping individual cheats. One man for example, managed to keep collecting his dead father’s annuity payments for 37 years—and the office didn’t notice until the son died in turn, $515,000 later. The OPM has taken some measures, like checking its data against Social Security death records and occasionally checking on anyone 90 or older to verify they're still alive, but the inspector general called those “partial remedies, at best.”

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