Welcome to Paymentaccuracy.gov

Effective stewardship of tax­payer funds is a critical responsibility of the Federal Government. Improper payments are harmful to the integrity and reputation of the Federal Government and degrade the public’s trust in the government and its payment systems.

An improper payment is any payment that should not have been made or that was made in an incorrect amount under statutory, contractual, administrative, or other legally applicable requirements. In addition, improper payments include payments with insufficient documentation to determine if the payment was proper.

Examples include payments that resulted from attempts to defraud the government, in addition to payments made in error, payments made for services never received, or certain payments with supporting documentation errors.

Expressed positively, a proper payment has four main attributes:

  • right recipient
  • right amount
  • right reason
  • right time

This site is dedicated to ensuring the American people that its government is addressing this issue and is taking concrete steps on prevention and recovery of improper payments.

In addition, this site increases the transparency of federal financial payment activities. Improper payment rates and amounts are presented by program, not by agency. This representation provides the full picture of the payment challenges the Federal Government faces and the major reasons for payment errors.

It is also important to note that not all improper payments result in a monetary loss to the Federal Government and there are significant efforts underway at most agencies to recover improper payments. In addition, improper payments typically account for a small percentage of a program’s total outlays. For example, more than half of the 91 programs reporting improper payment estimates in 2017 reported a payment accuracy rate of greater than 98 percent.

Data collected on improper payments is available for download on the resource page. This includes data on rates, recoveries, dollar amounts, root causes, and more. This site also provides an interactive Chart Engine which allows the public to create their own customized charts using Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 improper payments data.

High-Priority Programs

The government can achieve the greatest return on investment for the taxpayer by ensuring that improper payments are mitigated in the highest-risk programs, otherwise known as “high-priority programs.” Federal agencies must overcome significant obstacles to address the root causes of improper payments and many need additional tools and resources to address their payment integrity issues.

In pursuing reforms, the government must balance its responsibilities for reducing improper payments with the goal of providing fast and accurate payments to millions of beneficiaries.

Visit the High-Priority Programs page to understand what agencies are doing to overcome unique challenges and obstacles. By strengthening financial management controls so agencies can better detect and prevent improper payments, the government can better ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and efficiently.

Want even more information on improper payments? We have a list of useful improper payment resources, including agency specific data, laws, and implementing guidance. Please see our FAQ and Resources links at the top of this page.