ABC Atlanta/NBC Pittsburgh: New report shows federal government making payments to people who shouldn’t receive them 82_IP_wpxi

November 23, 2020 04:02 PM


By: Blair Miller, CMG Washington News Bureau 
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 6:46 PM

WASHINGTON — In a report out on Monday from, there are some big numbers showing the federal government spending billions of dollars. But in some cases, they’re payments that were sent to people who shouldn’t have received them.

The organization said last year alone, $175 billion in improper payments were made from programs like Medicaid, Medicare and the IRS’ Earned Income Tax Credit.

“We’re talking about a huge amount of money,” said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of

Andrzejewski shared what they found, and one thing stood out: $871 million went to dead people last year.

“These are people who have a federal death certificate with the agency making the payments and the payments continued,” Andrzejewski said.

It’s an issue that goes back more than 10 years. Since 2004, 20 major federal agencies have sent out $2.3 trillion in improper payments.

Andrzejewski said there are some agencies where it repeatedly happens.

“The largest offender that they admit to improper payments is Health and Human Services. Next up is the Department of Treasury and the IRS. They admit that one of out every four payments on the Earned Income Tax Credit is mistakenly paid out,” Andrzejewski said.

And when it comes to comparing the volume of money mistakes between the Trump administration and the Obama administration, there’s really no big difference.

“Both parties from President Obama to President Trump have largely failed at the effort,” Andrzejewski said.

The Department of Health and Human Services, along with the IRS, have both recently said they’re aware of these issues and are working on ways to keep this from happening in the future.

They’re looking at recommendations as well from a recent government watchdog report that was shared with Congress.

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