• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • One Billion of Your Tax Dollars Sent to Dead People

    Sen.Tom Coburn (R-OK) put out a report today documenting one billion in your tax dollars given to dead people.  Zombies only exist on Halloween, yet dead people received checks from the federal government in the form of stimulus checks, aid to heat homes, housing subsidies, claims for prescription drugs, and medical supplies.

    Dead people are haunting the federal government and taking money away from the living. As Coburn writes in the report, with a $1.3 trillion deficit for his year and a $13.6 trillion amassed debt as a nation, tax dollars should be put to a good use.  Coburn writes, “this means spending within our means on the living, not outside our means on the dead.”

    A few highlights of the report are as follows:

    • The Social Security Administration sent $18 million in Stimulus funds to 71,688 dead people, including James Hagner who received a check for $250 for his late mother who had passed away in 1967.  This is merely one example of tens of thousands of checks going out to deceased individuals to stimulate the economy.
    • The Department of Health and Human Services doled out checks to 11,000 dead people to the tune of $3.9 million in assistance to pay heating and cooling costs out of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report in June of 2010 that argued for greater fraud prevention controls on the program to prevent this same thing from happening in the future.  Federal and state governments do not have adequate protections against people using the identities of dead people to apply for assistance.
    • The Department of Agriculture cranked out checks for $1.1 billion to deceased farmers. The Farm Services Agency (FSA) is the incompetent actor in this scandal.  According to Coburn, the agency has “failed to properly police its programs’ rolls.”  The GAO found in 2007 that the FSA has provided 171,801 deceased farmers in subsidies.
    • The Department of Housing and Urban Development cut checks for $15.2 million in housing subsidies for 3,995 households with at least one deceased person.  In one case “one agency did not learn of a tenant’s death until it performed an inspection of the tenant’s residence and found another family living in the unit.  The HUD office of the Inspector General put out a report in 2009 documenting an estimated $7 million in money for deceased tenants.

    It does not end there. The Coburn Report also documented Medicaid payments of over $700,000 in prescriptions for 1,800 dead patients and prescriptions for drugs written by 1,200 deceased doctors. Also, Medicare payments of $92 million in medical supplies prescribed by dead doctors and $8.2 million for medical supplies prescribed for non-living patients.

    When you hear the often repeated line “where would you cut the budget,” Congress and the American people can point to the Coburn Report as a great example of how to cut billions in dead weight from the federal budget.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to One Billion of Your Tax Dollars Sent to Dead People

    1. Ben, Florida says:

      So let me get this straight. We are paying dead citizens AND dead weight in Congress. Less than 50 Congressman are actual power players (making things happen) compared to how many "D" or "R" votes that don't even sponsor bills in the first place.

      Just on things that do happen, just for anyone that cares, certain things like SSI benefits and Medicaid benefits are under the Social Security number of one spouse even though it covers both. When the spouse that dies is the one with the number on record, they would show payments even though deceased (as it would be still for the surviving spouse at a reduced amount). This would imply beneficiary benefits such as the son getting a checking for his mom 33 years later. Dumb but what in government makes sense?

    2. Pingback: I See Subsidized Dead People: $1 Billion in Tax Dollars Went to Deceased | The American Pundit

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.