Part of the problem with the other two agencies, according to the GAO, is that they have not been using the most comprehensive version of the Social Security Administration's death master list.
Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, and Tom Carper, D-Del., introduced legislation last week aimed at making the list more easily accessible to all federal agencies.
“It is inexcusable for bureaucratic red tape to hinder the detection of individuals who are on the government's list of deceased beneficiaries,” Coburn said.
“This bill will improve the Social Security Administration's management of the file while increasing real-time data sharing with other agencies to ensure the most up-to-date information is available on beneficiaries before payments are disbursed.”
There are also problems at the state and county level in making sure that payments made after a farmer's death are going to individuals qualified to receive them.
In response to the report, the USDA challenged the assertion that the agencies did not have any procedures in place to detect improper payments, but the department generally agreed with the GAO's recommendations and said the Risk Management Agency had recently implemented a new computer matching program.
In addition, the USDA said the Risk Management Agency and conservation service had received approval to use the Social Security Administration's complete death master file.
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