OPM Watchdog: Government Paid $120M to Dead People, Agency Taking Steps to Prevent Payments

Photo: Rob Hill

The federal government paid more than $120 million in benefits annually over the last five years to dead people, according to a watchdog report released Friday.

The payments are supposed to go to retired or disabled federal workers, but sometimes the payments keep going out after the employees die and the death is not reported, according to the Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general.

IG Patrick McFarland discovered one case where the son of a beneficiary received more than $515,000 over 37 years after his father’s death in 1971.

The payments were discovered when the son died in 2008.

In his report, McFarland said OPM has taken action to resolve the issue. The agency has adopted 10 of the 14 recommendations listed in the report, including enhancing communications with beneficiaries and their families.

“Our team at OPM has worked hard with our IG on this issue over the past few years, as recognized by the IG in his report,” OPM Director John Berry said in a statement. “Action has been taken on all $600 million in improper payments, including $113 million currently in collection.

Click here to read the full IG report.

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