Welcome to Paymentaccuracy.gov

The purpose of this site is to increase the transparency of federal financial payment activities.  “Payment accuracy” rates and amounts presented on this site are presented by program.   This representation provides information concerning each reporting programs’ payment activities and provides the full picture of the payment challenges the Federal Government faces.  

This website presents a program-by-program focus, provides accurate measures of Federal Government performance, and the major reasons for any payment errors.  The most relevant laws, guidance documents, FAQs, helpful websites, and guidance on what an individual citizen can do to help prevent payment errors will continue to be on this site.  

The Improper Payments and Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 PDF Document defines an “improper payment” as 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.

Expressed positively, a proper payment has four main attributes: right recipient, right amount, right reason, and right time.  A violation of any one of any attributes may result as an “improper payment” if an agency cannot document those conditions.  Furthermore, not all “improper payments” are the result of fraudulent actions or represent monetary loss to the government.

Examples of non-monetary losses to taxpayers:

  • Instances where the right individual received the correct payment amount; however, the agency was unable to discern from the documentation that the payment was accurate.
  • Underpayments.

Examples of monetary losses to taxpayers:

  • Duplicate payments to eligible recipients.
  • Payments made for goods or services not received.
  • Payments made inappropriately to deceased individuals.

For FY 2017, we have seen improvements in the four programs with the highest payment error activity, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicare Fee for Service, Medicaid, and Medicare Part C for both monetary and non-monetary losses; however, in some cases these improvements were in the statistical margin of error and may not represent actual changes in losses.

Need more information on improper payments? We have a list of useful improper payment resources – including agency specific data, laws, and implementing guidance – that are often requested by agencies and the public. Please see our FAQ and Resources links at the top of this page.  Download the improper payment data in spreadsheet form.

About This Site

The Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-300) PDF Document as amended by the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 (Pub. L. No. 111-204) PDF Document, requires agencies to assess every Federal program and dollar for improper payment risk, measure the accuracy of payments annually, and initiate program improvements to ensure payment errors are reduced.  On November 20, 2009,  Executive Order 13520—Reducing Improper Payments and Eliminating Waste in Federal Programs, was issued for the purpose of intensifying efforts to eliminate payment error, waste, fraud, and abuse in the major programs administered by the Federal government, while continuing to ensure that the right people receive the right payment for the right reason at the right time.  This website contains information about:

  1. Current and historical rates and amounts of improper payments
  2. Why improper payments occur
  3. What agencies are doing to reduce and recover improper payments

Federal agencies must overcome significant obstacles to address the root causes of improper payments and will need additional tools and resources to meet this steep goal.  The government can achieve the greatest return on investment for the taxpayer by ensuring that improper payments are eliminated in the highest-risk programs, otherwise known as “high-priority programs.”  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.

Each program presents unique challenges and obstacles to overcoming the improper payment problem.  Visit our High-Priority Programs page to understand these challenges and what agencies are doing to overcome them.  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.