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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Improper payments by federal agencies reach a record $125B

Improper payments by federal agencies reach a record $125B

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agencies set a new record for improper payments last year, shelling out $125 billion in questionable benefits after years of declines.

The payments included tax credits for families that didn't qualify, Medicare payments for treatments that might not have been necessary, and unemployment benefits for people who were actually working.

Improper payments increased by $19 billion over the previous year, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. In addition to fraud, the errors included overpayments and underpayments, as well as payments made without proper documentation.

While the errors were spread among 22 federal agencies, three programs stood out: Medicare, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Together, the three programs accounted for more than $93 billion in improper payments.

Other programs with improper payments:
— Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor: $17.5 billion.
— Medicare Advantage, which allows older Americans to get their Medicare benefits through private health plans: $12.2 billion.
— Unemployment insurance: $5.6 billion.
— Supplemental Security Income, a disability program for the poor: $5 billion.
— Social Security: $3 billion.

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