When Bob Dylan once mused that “death is not the end,” he may have been talking about government fraud and incompetence. In the past five years, the federal government has paid out $601 million in benefits to federal retirees who will never be able to enjoy them — because they’re dead.
According to a report from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, payments to deceased annuitants range from $100 to $150 million per year, averaging $120 million annually.
In the report, Inspector General Patrick McFarland stressed that although steps had been made to address the problem, “there remains a high probability that egregious loss of monies from the CSRDF will continue and require strategic corrective actions.”
McFarland went on to note an especially egregious case in which a retiree’s son received benefits until “37 years after his father’s death in 1971. The improper payment in this case exceeded $515,000 and was reported to OPM when the son, who fraudulently received the payments, died. The improper payment was not recovered.”
The report further warns that the balance of these improper payments is growing at a faster rate than the total annuity payments. In other words, the problem is getting worse.