- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
Dead farmers reap millions in subsidies, GAO audit shows
The federal government is still paying out millions of dollars a year in subsidies to dead farmers, according to a government audit released Monday that said the Agriculture Department doesn’t do the routine checks required to make sure it is paying benefits to the right people.
The Government Accountability Office said one agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, made $10.6 million payments from 2008 to 2012 on behalf of more than 1,100 people who had been dead at least a year. Another arm of the department, the Risk Management Agency, paid out $22 million to more than 3,400 policyholders who had been dead at least two years.
Some of the payments may have been legal because they were for work completed before the farmers died, but the GAO said the problem is that the two agencies don’t perform routine checks — such as looking at the Social Security lists — to verify their information.
“Until and unless NRCS and RMA develop and implement procedures to have their payment or subsidy data records matched against SSA’s complete death master file, either through coordination with FSA or on their own, these agencies cannot know if they are providing payments to, or subsidies on behalf of, deceased individuals; how often they are providing such payments or subsidies; or in what amounts,” the investigators wrote.
The current rate of potentially bad payments is slim compared with the overall budget for subsidies, which runs to about $20 billion a year.
In its official response to the audit, the Agriculture Department said it does have some procedures in place to determine whether the beneficiaries with whom they are dealing are still breathing.
But the department acknowledged its procedures “were not effectively and consistently implemented to identify deceased individuals.”
Near the end of the GAO’s yearlong audit, the Agriculture Department signed an agreement to begin to get the Social Security Administration’s death master file so it could begin checking names of those it is paying.
The report was released as the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-led Senate remained at loggerheads over a rewrite of the $1 trillion law covering support payments to farmers, crop insurance and the food stamp program for low-income Americans.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at email@example.com.
- Federal deficit shrinks 20 percent in fiscal 2014
- Wind farms: Interior Department sacrifices eagle protection for alternative energy
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Bipartisan House votes against 'patent trolls' who file lawsuits against innovators
- Bipartisan House votes to stop patent 'trolls'
Latest Blog Entries
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Broncos-Chargers game ends with several stabbings
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Kim Jong-un consolidating power or losing grip on North Korea's military
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuclear umbrella
- Echoes of Cold War in Ukraine as Russia tries to rein in former Soviet satellites
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- American missing in Iran was CIA operative who went rogue - Washington Times#pagebreak#pagebreak
- Medicare pays full price for half-empty vials of medicine
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow