Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Improper payments under the CSRS and FERS retirement systems remain a problem, the inspector general of OPM has said in the latest of a series of reports that estimates the figure at $284 million in fiscal 2019.

“One of the most common causes of improper payments is failure to verify the deaths of annuitants, which sometimes allows improper payments to continue for years and costs tens of thousands of dollars. Fraud by forged documents, identity theft, and other schemes also highlight program vulnerabilities, and in some cases may stop federal retirees or rightful annuitants from receiving their deserved benefits,” it said.

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It cited a number of cases that reached resolution in 2020 involving overpayments of annuity benefits because of failure to report an annuitant’s death. Three of those involved more than $360,000, $226,000 and $86,000, and two others of more than $243,000 and $88,000 involved both annuity and health insurance benefits.

Other cases involved continued payment of disability retirement benefits even though the individual had returned to work and a representative payee charged with stealing more than $30,000 from a federal retiree.

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