According to its own estimate, it was highlighted that the US government made around $100 billion in wrongful payments in the past year towards individuals that were not entitled to the money. This includes unemployment benefits, tax credits and medical payments.
The congressional investigators appreciate that the amount might actually be higher.
The Obama Administration reduced improper payments amounts since the 2010 peak. Even so, the federal agencies estimate that a lot of money is still being wasted.
According to Republican John Mica:
“Nobody knows exactly how much taxpayer money is wasted through improper payments, but the federal government’s own astounding estimate is more than half a trillion dollars over the past 5 years. The fact is, improper payments are staggeringly high in programs designed to help those most in need – children, seniors and low-income families.”
The federal agencies need to estimate how many improper payments were made. this includes underpayments, overpayments, payments made without the necessary documentation and payments that reached a wrong recipient.
The federal agencies estimated making $97 billion in overpayments in 2013 and a total of $9 billion in underpayments. The amount of the improper payments made in 2010 was of $121 billion.
As expected, different individuals argue that estimates are incorrect.
The largest improper payments source is the health care programs of the government. Medicare payments account for around $50 billion of the improper payments. As a comparison, Medicaid accounted for $14.4 billion of the improper payments.