Improper payments, which generally include payments that should not have been made, were made in the incorrect amount, or were not supported by sufficient documentation, remain a significant and pervasive government-wide issue. Since fiscal year 2003—when certain agencies began reporting improper payments as required by the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002—cumulative improper payment estimates have totaled over $1.2 trillion. For fiscal year 2016, agencies reported improper payment estimates totaling $144.3 billion, an increase of about $7.6 billion from the prior year’s estimate of $136.7 billion.
For fiscal year 2016, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) reported improper payment estimate totaled $5.5 billion. VA’s Community Care and Purchased Long-Term Services and Support programs accounted for reported improper payment estimates of $3.6 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively, or about 87 percent of VA’s reported improper payment estimate for fiscal year 2016. VA’s reported improper payment estimates increased significantly from $1.6 billion for fiscal year 2014 to $5.0 billion for fiscal year 2015. According to the VA Office of Inspector General, this increase was primarily due to a change in VA’s evaluation procedures, which resulted in more improper payments being identified.