Government has avoided $47 billion in improper payments

The federal government has avoided more than $47 billion in improper payments the past three years as part of its “Campaign to Cut Waste” initiative, narrowly missing President Obama’s goal of avoiding $50 billion by the end of fiscal year 2012.

When Department of Defense commercial payments are factored in, the total for improper payments avoided over the three years jumps to nearly $70 billion, according to a blog post from Office of Management and Budget Controller Danny Werfel.

“These are promising results, to be sure, but we will not rest as long as there is a single dollar of improper payment,” Werfel said. “Every dollar paid in error represents an unacceptable waste of taxpayer resources. This Administration is committed to keeping up the fight to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse and continuing to attack this challenge with every tool at our disposal.”

Werfel said agencies have taken targeted steps to combat erroneous payment.


For example, the Department of Labor is actively working with states to reduce unemployment insurance improper payments. All states have been called to action to ensure that UI integrity is a top priority and to develop state-specific strategies to bring down the overpayment rate.

DOL also recently launched a partnership with the New York Department of Labor to establish a UI Integrity Center of Excellence. This new center will drive collaborative work with DOL and other states to develop and implement innovative strategies that can be used to combat improper payments and build capacity nationally to use data analytics and predictive modeling more effectively, Werfel said.

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