How on Earth did the Government make $2.9 TRILLION Improper Payments???

Last year alone, improper and mistaken federal payments totaled $247 billion. That’s about $20.5 billion per month, or more than $675 million every, single day.


1. Total Overpayments

In 2022, $247 billion in estimated improper payments were reported by 17 federal agencies, averaging $20.5 billion per month.


2. Worst Programs

Department of Health and Human Services’ Medicaid ($81 billion); HHS’s Medicare — consisting of several parts — ($47 billion); and Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program ($29 billion).

3. Claw Back

The government identified $51.7 billion of overpayments to recapture, and was successful in recapturing $23.2 billion through audits and other “recovery activities,” making for a 45% recovery rate, or an actual recovery rate of 9% of all improper payments.

4. Dead People Payments

Dead people received $532.5 million in 2022 and $441.7 million in 2021 in mistaken payments. Federal retirement services (pensions), old-age, survivors, and disability insurance, and social security were sent to dead recipients.

Two year total: $974.3 million.

5. Top 10 Worst Agencies

6. Worst Loss 

In 2021, the Small Business Administration overpaid $671 million in improper payments. That number ballooned to $37.3 billion in 2022, due mostly to the Paycheck Protection Loan Program and COVID-Economic Injury Disaster Loan program — $35.9 billion combined.

7. Best Recovery

In 2021, the Labor Department overpaid $78.2 billion, almost all the Federal State Unemployment Insurance program. In 2022, the total number of improper payments dropped to $19 billion — a 75% reduction.

8. Added To The List

Seventeen agencies reported having made improper payments in FY 2022 and 16 reported such payments in 2021.

USAID — United States Agency for International Development — had no improper payments in 2021 but $200,000 in 2022.

9. Risk-Susceptible

U.S. Government Accountability Office identified some risk-susceptible programs that had no reported FY 2022 improper payments, including HHS’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

10. What Can $247 Billion Buy? What_can_$247B_buy Go to OpentheBooks for more. Please consider donating to their valuable work. OTB_Improper_Payments_2023_FINAL