OPM’s longstanding problem of overpayments of annuities after the recipient’s death is continuing, and while most such cases involve failure by survivors to report the death, in some cases OPM keeps paying the benefits even after being notified, according to the latest compilation of investigative results from the IG there.
The report lists five cases of improper annuity payments in amounts ranging up to about $160,000 after the annuitant’s death, with those payments going into accounts jointly owned by family members. In one case the recipient was prosecuted, resulting in house arrest and probation, in another a repayment agreement was reached, and in a third repayment was waived due to the illness of the family member involved.
However, it added that in another case the survivor did report the death to OPM but the agency continued to make the payments; a district attorney’s office declined to prosecute and the case was referred for collection. In still another, a survivor had written letters to call OPM’s attention to the overpayments “but never received a response.” In that case prosecution also was declined, and a repayment agreement was reached.
A related concern, it added, is continued payment of survivor annuities to survivors who remarry before age 55, an action that ends entitlement. The report lists three such instances that were confirmed and noted that separately the IG used a database listing marriages in several states to check on the status of 141 survivor annuitants and discovered that seven had remarried prior to that age and had not reported the marriage to OPM.