Target: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Goal: Actively prevent mistaken payments of farm subsidies to deceased individuals
Recent investigation by the Government Accountability Office found that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had been mistakenly distributing farm subsidies of up to $35.9 million to deceased individuals. Of these payments, $22 million were paid by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) as crop insurance to 1,103 deceased individuals; $10.6 million by the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) as funds for conservation efforts to 3,434 individuals years after their deaths; and $3.3 million by the Farm Service Agency as farm income support or disaster assistance.
Though the USDA denies these claims and says that the scale of mistaken payments is smaller than that reported by the Government Accountability Office, the GAO believes that improper payments is still a concern because the two of the USDA’s agencies do not have procedures to identify deceased individuals and stop payments to their name. The GAO claims that neither the NRCS nor the RMA verifies their list of deceased individuals with the Social Security Administration’s master list, creating much room for error. The Farm Service Agency, however, was able to identify and recall about $1 million of improper payments.
By signing this petition you will help urge the USDA to take steps to actively prevent improper payments of farm subsidies to deceased individuals and to recover mistaken payments if possible.
To the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
Recent reports by the Government Accountability Office shows that the USDA has paid around $35.9 million as farm subsidies to deceased individuals. While some of these payments may have been proper, our concern is with the improper payments paid out as a result of insufficient procedures to identify deceased individuals who should no longer be receiving subsidies.
The GAO’s goal is to investigate what the government does with taxpayer dollars, and as taxpayers we would like to urge the USDA to take action to better prevent mistaken payments. As suggested by the GAO, it may be necessary to frequently compare the USDA database of policyholders to the Social Security Administration to ensure accuracy and proper payment.
[Your Name Here]
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