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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

Posted: 9:44 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Feds wrongly paid out $106 billion in 2013 

By Jamie Dupree

In the bureaucratic lexicon of Washington, D.C., they are known as "improper payments," where Uncle Sam wrongly pays out billions of dollars each year. On Wednesday, a House committee was told that those payments totaled almost $106 billion in 2013.

"Actually, it's over $100 billion each of the last five years," said Rep. John Mica (R-FL). "That's a staggering half a trillion dollars in improper payments."

The figure of $105.8 billion for 2013 was actually down slightly from $107.1 billion in 2012, but it was obviously no reason to celebrate.

"While we are happy to see progress in reducing improper payments, however, we must also acknowledge more work needs to be done," said Beth Cobert of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Here's the list of the top five programs that wrongly sent out the most federal money in 2013:

1. Medicare (Fee for service) - $36 billion

2. Earned Income Tax Credit - $14.5 billion

3. Medicaid - $14.4 billion

4. Medicare Advantage - $11.8 billion

5. Unemployment Insurance - $6.2 billion

As for the programs that had the largest error rates, the Governmental Accountability Office ranked the worst offenders this way:

+ School Breakfast - 25.3% outlay error rate, $831 million in losses

+ Earned Income Tax Credit - 24%, $14.5 billion

+ Small Business Disaster Assistance loans - 18.4%, $121 million

+ VA Home Per Diem Grants - 15.9%, $135 million

+ School Lunch - 15.7%, $1.77 billion

If you want to learn more about the problem of improper payments, you can read through the GAO testimony to the House Oversight Committee.

Jamie Dupree

About Jamie Dupree

Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog.

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