Aids in the Effort to Reduce Improper Payments

March 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Administration’s focus on reducing and recapturing improper payments has led to a series of guidance and legislation directing agencies to make a more concerted effort to minimize improper payments. To incentivize agencies and make transparent the effort to cut waste in government, was launched in June 2010 as a dashboard that highlights information such as the rate of improper payments by agency/program, targets set for reducing and recovering those payments, and information on designated accountable officials responsible for meeting those targets.

Among the 79 programs deemed risk-susceptible, the website showcases 14 “high-error” programs based on information in each agency’s annual performance and financial reports. Currently, high-error programs constitute those that reported approximately $750 million or more in improper payments during 2009 alone. Users can home in on each high error program and identify current and historical error rates; projections of future improper payments; and, depending on the program, comments providing input in calculation methodology, future expectations for mitigating error rates, and causes of improper payments, among others. The website also provides links to sites for reporting suspected incidents of fraud, waste, and abuse by program.

The new dashboard also highlights agencies using innovative technologies and processes to successfully reduce waste.  Currently, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), and Department of Defense (DoD) have been distinguished for identifying partnerships, pilot programs, or analytical tools that enable a more efficient process for identifying improper payments. In part through the aid of these success stories, the federal government has recovered a record amount of approximately $687 million during FY 2010. Almost 90% of this total includes payments recaptured through agency recapture audits, which reports is the highest reported amount in the six previous years of agency reporting.

Finally, the public is encouraged to participate in the process of contributing innovative ideas for reducing improper payments and improving delivery of government services. The best way to do so is by submitting new approaches through, spearheaded by the Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation. The Fund allows organizations to pilot innovative ideas for improving assistance programs. Ideas submitted from the public are considered by stakeholders of impacted programs and promising concepts are further developed into pilot programs.


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