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OMB: $47 billion in improper payments avoided in 3 years

Nov. 21, 2012 - 03:38PM   |  
By STEVEN WATKINS   |   Comments
Office of Management and Budget Controller Danny Werfel said that when DoD commercial payments are factored in, the total amount of improper payments avoided in the last three years comes to nearly $70 billion.
Office of Management and Budget Controller Danny Werfel said that when DoD commercial payments are factored in, the total amount of improper payments avoided in the last three years comes to nearly $70 billion. (Staff file photo)

The government avoided more than $47 billion in improper payments in the last three years, according to a senior Office of Management and Budget official.

The figure narrowly misses President Obama’s goal of avoiding $50 billion in improper payments by the end of fiscal 2012.

In reporting the news Wednesday on OMB’s blog, called OMBlog, Danny Werfel, the agency’s controller, added that the government recaptured a record $4.4 billion in overpayments to contractors in the last three years. That surpassed by more than double the president’s goal of recapturing $2 billion in overpayments to contractors by the end of fiscal 2012.

Werfel attributed the achievement to a new initiative called the Medicare Fee-for-Service Recovery Audit Contractor program.

Werfel said that when Defense Department commercial payments are factored in, the total amount of improper payments avoided in the last three years comes to nearly $70 billion.

In addition, OMB is reporting that 4.3 percent of government payments made are improper, which means they were more or less than they should have been or were not properly justified.

That figure is down a 5.4 percent error rate in fiscal 2009.

“We have successfully reduced error rates in major programs all across the government: Medicare Fee-for-Service, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, SNAP (Food Stamps), Pell Grants, the School Lunch program, and Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance,” Werfel said.

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