Report: The government has paid over $1 billion to dead people

In The NewsReport: The government has paid over $1 billion to dead peopleA recent report says the government paid out over $1 billion in benefits to dead people in 2018 alone.

In The News,  | Quick Take
Jun 18, 2019  | 1 min read | Print Article

This article by Dave Elias first appeared in NBC-2, Fort Myers on June 17, 2019

NBC-2.com WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida

Taxpayer money is being collected from beyond the grave. A recent report says the government paid out over $1 billion in benefits to dead people in 2018 alone.

The money went out in the form of social security, Medicare and Medicaid payments, as well as federal pensions.

Social security isn’t always getting notified when people die, so they keep sending the checks and someone cashes them.

“Taxpayers for Common Sense” is calling for change.

“Their family member or somebody else continues to cash the check and that’s fraud,” said Stephen Ellis, with Taxpayers For Common Sense (TFCS).

Social Security does receives death notice information from multiple sources including families, banks and other government agencies.

Congressman Greg Steube has introduced a bill that would require social security to start checking on people who are 105 and older to make sure they’re still alive and qualify.

“Will this additional requirement really yield that much in the way of savings? I hope so,” Ellis said.

If paying dead people wasn’t bad enough, the same government report found that in 2018, $151 billion went out in improper payments.

That means checks went out to the wrong person or wrong amount.

Since 2003, improper payments totaled $1.5 trillion.

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