As I wrote recently, one of the steps we are taking to cut waste in government and boost performance is establishing a Do Not Pay List, a single source through which all agencies can check the status of a potential contractor or individual, so that a barred or ineligible individual or organization is not paid erroneously. This is part of a sustained effort we have taken to go after the $100 billion wasted in improper payments each year by the federal government.
Today, we are taking this initiative a step further by launching a new website, www.PaymentAccuracy.gov to give taxpayers a way to join the fight by reporting suspected incidents of fraud, waste, and abuse.
On this site, you can see the rates and amounts of improper payments for each agency, the targets each agency has set for reducing and recovering improper payments, and the names of the designated accountable official at each agency responsible for meeting those targets. This list is just one of many steps the Administration has taken to fulfill its commitment to reduce improper payments through increased transparency, enhanced agency accountability, and new incentives for state and local governments.
In addition, PaymentAccuracy.gov, showcases agencies using new technologies and developing innovative solutions to reduce waste.
Today, we learned about the success at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which announced that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP) error rate fell from 5.01 percent in 2008 to an all-time low of 4.36 percent in 2009. And USDA did this despite record-breaking participation levels, benefit increases, and an increased amount of resources being spent.
What does this reduction in the improper payment rate mean?
Well, consider that more than $50.3 billion in SNAP benefits were issued last year, so if the error rate had remained at 5.01 percent, $330 million in additional errors would have occurred. By consolidating information on improper payments and making this information transparent to the public, we are assisting – in fact, asking – the American people to help hold federal agencies accountable for responsibly managing taxpayer dollars. Congratulations to the USDA for the progress they have made, and I hope that through the accountability of PaymentAccuracy.gov, we will see other successes across the federal government in the days to come.
We also applaud the passage of Senator Carper and Representative Patrick Murphy’s Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act by the Senate last night. We look forward to having the House pass a final version of this bill, which complements our efforts in cutting down on waste.
This blog was originally posted on the OMB Blog on June 24.