U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) has cosponsored a bill that will curb federal payments to deceased individuals.
As reported in The Washington Post, the nation's capital is "bedeviled by ... the living dead." The newspaper said that over the last few years, the government has paid $133 million to Social Security beneficiaries who were deceased and $400 million to federal retirees who had died.
Cooper said the commonsense bill saves the government money by improving information collection and curbing fraud.
"It's embarrassing in the Internet age that government doesn't know which of its citizens has died," Cooper said. "Information should be almost instantaneous so that taxpayers are protected."
Improving federal databases of deceased beneficiaries has the potential to save the government hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Improper Payments Agency Cooperation Enhancement (IPACE) Act includes more than a dozen cosponsors from both parties. It incorporates several steps to stop improper payments:
Improves the government's recordkeeping;
Requires use of death data to curb improper payments;
Coordinates federal agencies' access to data; and
Ensures that agencies managing retirement programs share best practices.