Happy Halloween! $1 billion in taxpayer money goes to the UNDEAD! 

Perhaps government is more like a zombie than a parasite. Especially given that about $1 billion in taxpayer money goes to 250,000 deceased individuals (according to a review of reports by the Government Accountability Office, inspectors general, and Congress itself). How, might you ask? According to Sen. Tom Coburn’s, R-Okla., office:

  • The Social Security Administration sent $18 million in stimulus funds to 71,688 dead people and $40.3 million in questionable benefit payments to 1,760 dead people.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services sent 11,000 dead people $3.9 million in assistance to pay heating and cooling costs.
  • The Department of Agriculture sent $1.1 billion in farming subsidies to deceased farmers.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development overseeing local agencies knowingly distributed $15.2 million in housing subsidies to 3,995 households with at least one deceased person.
  • Medicaid paid over $700,000 in claims for prescriptions for controlled substances written for over 1,800 deceased patients and prescriptions for controlled substances written by 1,200 deceased doctors.
  • Medicare paid as much as $92 million in claims for medical supplies prescribed by dead doctors and $8.2 million for medical supplies prescribed for dead patients.
  • Congress has established HIV/AIDS funding distribution based on historic numbers of deceased HIV/AIDS patients, while many individuals living with AIDS desperately wait for medical care.

So it must be good to be dead right? (We will check into whether they count among the nation’s unemployed.) Well, the great benefit-receiving undead couldn’t possibly continue to receive benefits under this scheme:

In June, the administration announced new steps to stop itself from making these payments: Agencies are now supposed to check their payees against the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Death Master File (DMF). But SSA admits its records are fraught with errors, with Commissioner Astrue explaining “it is extremely expensive and may even be impossible to determine if a person is alive or dead particularly if the person died many years ago.”  So the administration’s new process cannot ensure the payments will end or improperly deny live, eligible Americans their benefits.

That’s right people: Government so effective that it can’t tell the dead from the alive. And because they don’t want to err on the dead side, money will keep coming.

Think of it as a government subsidized zombie horde.

About The Author

J.P. Freire

Bio:
J.P. Freire is the associate editor of commentary. Previously he was the managing editor of the American Spectator. Freire was named journalist of the year for 2009 by the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). You can follow him on Twitter here. Besides the Spectator, Freire's work has appeared in... more
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