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, when an agency’s review is unable to discern whether a payment was proper as a result of insufficient or lack of documentation, this payment should also be considered an improper payment.  

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

Expressed positively, a proper payment has four main attributes:

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

If during a review the agency is able to determine that the payment was made to the right recipient, for the right amount, and in accordance with applicable regulation and statute, but failed to comply with all agency policies, procedures, and/or documentation requirements surrounding the payment, this payment may be considered proper.

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.

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.

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.

To reduce the monetary loss to the tax payers by issuing payments correctly the first time, in FY 2018 High Priority Programs will be combined with programs that have over a $100 Million or more in monetary loss.  This is an opportunity to improve the efficiency of government programs by focusing on reducing incorrect payment that result in monetary loss.

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.