Since 2007, the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers various programs for farmers that help support farm incomes and provide disaster assistance, has established procedures for preventing improper payments to deceased individuals, including, on a quarterly basis, matching payments to program participants with the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) data on deceased individuals. Overall, these procedures have enabled FSA to identify thousands of deceased individuals who were paid $3.3 million in improper payments after their dates of death, of which FSA has recovered approximately $1 million.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a USDA agency that administers voluntary conservation programs, does not have procedures to prevent potentially improper payments to deceased individuals. GAO did a data review for fiscal year 2008 to April 2012, and estimates that NRCS made $10.6 million payments on behalf of 1,103 deceased individuals 1 year or more after their death.
USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), which administers crop insurance programs, does not have procedures in place consistent with federal internal control standards to prevent potentially improper subsidies on behalf of deceased individuals.
GAO matched every policyholder’s Social Security number in RMA’s crop insurance subsidy and administrative allowance data for crop insurance years 2008 to 2012 with SSA’s master list of deceased individuals and found that $22 million in subsidies and allowances may have been provided on behalf of an estimated 3,434 program policyholders 2 or more years after death.
Fox News: Watchdog report finds millions in gov’t payments to dead farmers
CAGW: Payments to the Recently Deceased
Huffington Post: GAO Audit: USDA Paid Millions To Thousands Of Dead FarmersRead the full report