OMB Memorandum M-15-02 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.
Incorrect amounts are overpayments or underpayments that are made to eligible recipients (including inappropriate denials of payment or service, any payment that does not account for credit for applicable discounts, payments that are for an incorrect amount, and duplicate payments). An improper payment also includes any payment that was made to an ineligible recipient or for an ineligible good or service, or payments for goods or services not received (except for such payments authorized by law). 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 must also be considered an improper payment.
2016 Payment Accuracy Rate
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.