Legislation Introduced Aims to Curb Erroneous Payments to Deceased Individuals

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Legislation introduced this week aims to save millions of federal dollars by curbing erroneous payments to individuals who have passed away. Senators Tom Carper and John Kennedy of Louisiana yesterday introduced the Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act. Senator Carper’s original bipartisan legislation set up such provisions to curb the erroneous payments for a temporary three-year period, and the new bill would make the temporary provisions permanent. 

Additional Information from the Office of Senator Tom Carper:

“Americans work too hard to see their tax dollars go to dead people. This bill would enable agencies to share information permanently so that government inefficiencies and miscommunications don’t waste money on fraudsters,” said Kennedy.

“We must be better stewards of American taxpayer dollars, and that means putting an end to wasteful spending. I am proud to have helped lead the passage of this bill in 2020 after over seven years of hard work to implement critical data sharing. Now we must ensure that this collaboration between agencies is made permanent so that our resources are used to help those who need it most,” said Carper.

The Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act would amend the Social Security Act to allow the Social Security Administration to share the Death Master File—a record of deceased individuals—with the Treasury Department’s Do Not Pay system on a permanent basis. This change would reign in the government’s pattern of making improper payments to deceased people into the future. 

The bill would also allow Treasury’s Do Not Pay working system to compare death information from the Social Security Administration with personal information from other entities and to share this information with any paying or administering agency authorized to use the Do Not Pay system.

Background:

  • Kennedy and Carper’s Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act became law in December 2020. The bill mandates the sharing of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File with the Department of the Treasury’s No Not Pay working system within three years after enactment. The three-year exchange runs from December 27, 2023 to December 27, 2026. 

Full text of the Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act is available here.


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