The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported that federal agencies and programs have made payment errors totaling $2.4 trillion over the past two decades. These errors include payments made to ineligible people or to those who are no longer eligible, as well as overpayments. The GAO has identified pandemic-era spending programs as a contributor to the problem.
Payment Errors are a Significant Concern
While most payment errors do not result in a loss of taxpayer money, they remain a significant concern, according to the GAO. In 2022, 18 federal agencies reported payment errors totaling $247 billion, including $200 billion in overpayments alone. The GAO has identified Medicaid, Medicare, the Paycheck Protection Program, unemployment insurance, and the earned income tax credit as the sources of most of these errors.
Despite the fact that most payment errors are not fraudulent, the GAO still considers them to be a significant issue. Payment errors can include payments to ineligible recipients or overpayments. The GAO has identified five programs that are the source of most of these errors: Medicaid, Medicare, the Paycheck Protection Program, unemployment insurance, and the earned income tax credit.
In order to lower payment errors, according to Fortune, the GAO has made a number of recommendations to Congress and federal agencies, including better monitoring of federal programs to identify risks for payment errors, identifying susceptible programs, developing trustworthy methods for estimating improper payments, and putting effective corrective action into place. However, as of February 2023, 37 of these recommendations had not been addressed.
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Pandemic-era Spending Programs a Contributor
The pandemic-era spending programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program, have contributed to the payment error problem. These programs helped millions of Americans avoid poverty and saved 2.3 million jobs, but they also led to increased fraud. The GAO has identified the PPP as a system that is vulnerable to payment errors.
While the pandemic-era spending programs have been a critical lifeline for many Americans, they have also contributed to the payment error problem. The GAO has identified the Paycheck Protection Program as a vulnerable system that is particularly susceptible to payment errors. Despite this, the program has helped millions of Americans avoid poverty and saved millions of jobs.
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