Government-wide Payment Integrity: New Approaches and Solutions Needed

April 2016
Topics: Government Agency Operations, Fraud, Improper Payments, Payment Integrity, Data Analytics
Gordon C. Milbourn III, The MITRE Corporation
Dr. Shaun M. Brady, The MITRE Corporation
Gary L. Ingber, The MITRE Corporation
Jonathan R. Stehle, The MITRE Corporation
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According to the Office of Management and Budget, the federal government annually makes more than $3 trillion in payments of all kinds, the great majority of which are proper. However, in fiscal year 2014, federal agencies estimated that they made nearly $125 billion in improper payments, representing the equivalent of the sixth largest agency. The amount of reported improper payments more than doubled over the last decade, but these estimates do not include all programs.

The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit corporation that operates federally funded research and development centers on behalf of federal government sponsors, conducted this independent, internally funded study of federal Payment Integrity in conjunction with its charter to help address significant government-wide problems.

The study discusses the following issues.

  • Trends involving such things as economic pressures, healthcare issues, cyber-based crime, and the behavior of fraudsters that could continue to impact Payment Integrity.
  • How government agencies address Payment Integrity challenges, present improper payment information to stakeholders, focus on agency actions as opposed to actions of federal payment applicants, and assess risk, and the impact of these approaches on corrective actions.
  • Primary areas of vulnerability and risk that contribute to improper payments.
  • Obstacles that contribute to improper payments by hindering agencies' ability to prevent or identify them.

 This study describes the impact of these issues and recommends 15 actions for broader, more cross-government approaches and transformational solutions to enhance Payment Integrity across the federal landscape.​

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