Wednesday, July 31, 2013

 

U.S.D.A. has paid millions to dead farmers

Payments of $32 million were made to dead farmers between 2008 and 2012 by the Agriculture Department, a new report finds.



Dead farmers paid: A farmer uses a hay rake behind his tractor to line up cut hay before bailing it.
A farmer uses a hay rake behind his tractor to line up cut hay before bailing it.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Agriculture Department paid out $32 million in soil conservation payments and crop insurance aid to dead farmers from 2008 to 2012, congressional auditors said Monday, calling for stricter rules to prevent improper payments.

In a report, the Government Accountability Office said two USDA agencies did not routinely check master lists compiled by the government to assure payments go only to living recipients. Contracts with USDA often are voided by death, but payments can flow to heirs for work already performed.

USDA said the problem was not as broad-scale as auditors suggested in citing potentially improper payments to 4,537 recipients. Some payments were made properly, but errors in recordkeeping misidentified recipients, it said.

However, the Risk Management Agency, overseer of the taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance system, said it began in May to match payment record with the Social Security Administration's list of decedents, as suggested by GAO.

The Environmental Working Group, which favors more funding for soil and water programs, juxtaposed the potential crop insurance mispayments, "this irresponsible use of scarce taxpayer dollars," with proposals in Congress to slash funding of food stamps for the poor.


Improper payments to deceased farmers and landowners are a recurring issue for USDA, although the payments are a small part of agricultural spending of around $20 billion a year on farm subsidies, soil conservation and crop insurance.


Earlier this year, the USDA inspector general said agencies in charge of farm subsidies could be vulnerable to improper payments. A 2007 GAO report listed $1.1 billion in farm payments over six years to deceased persons.


GAO said the Natural Resources Conservation Service, in charge of soil and water conservation programs, and the RMA needed "a systematic process" to check for deaths, such as the Social Security Administration list, rather than rely on finding them as part of routine operations.

USDA objected to GAO's description that the agencies had no procedures to identify deceased subsidy recipients.

In the report, GAO said the Farm Service Agency, which runs the crop subsidy program, had strengthened its oversight of payments since 2008 and now recovers most payments that are made improperly. But GAO said there could be a 9 percent error rate in coding whether payments were proper or improper.

Tags : , ,

Share

Social

The idea behind the text.
Respect for the truth is almost the basis of all morality.
Nothing can come from nothing.



Follow

Popular Topics

Read

Well, the way they make shows is, they make one show. That show's called a pilot. Then they show that show to the people who make shows, and on the strength of that one show they decide if they're going to make more shows.

Like you, I used to think the world was this great place where everybody lived by the same standards I did, then some kid with a nail showed me I was living in his world, a world where chaos rules not order, a world where righteousness is not rewarded. That's Cesar's world, and if you're not willing to play by his rules, then you're gonna have to pay the price.

You think water moves fast? You should see ice. It moves like it has a mind. Like it knows it killed the world once and got a taste for murder. After the avalanche, it took us a week to climb out. Now, I don't know exactly when we turned on each other, but I know that seven of us survived the slide... and only five made it out. Now we took an oath, that I'm breaking now. We said we'd say it was the snow that killed the other two, but it wasn't. Nature is lethal but it doesn't hold a candle to man.

You see? It's curious. Ted did figure it out - time travel. And when we get back, we gonna tell everyone. How it's possible, how it's done, what the dangers are. But then why fifty years in the future when the spacecraft encounters a black hole does the computer call it an 'unknown entry event'? Why don't they know? If they don't know, that means we never told anyone. And if we never told anyone it means we never made it back. Hence we die down here. Just as a matter of deductive logic.