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GAO Audit: USDA Paid Millions To Thousands Of Dead Farmers

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As Congress readies for another budget showdown, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a Monday audit unearthing millions of dollars that were mistakenly sent to the dead.

According to a Los Angeles Times report on the GAO item, the U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA) has sent $36.6 million in disaster assistance and conservation resources to deceased individuals. Bloomberg added that 6,336 people were involved, receiving those benefits for more than one year after their deaths between 2008 and 2012.

Entitled "USDA Needs to Do More to Prevent Improper Payments to Deceased Individuals," the GAO report recommends that a stronger verification system be implemented, along with procedures to better monitor crop insurance policies and data mining.

According to the Des Moines Register, the USDA has issued a letter saying it generally agrees with the findings and recommendations. One environment advocate slammed the USDA's inefficiencies as "appalling" in a Monday interview with The Hill.

“This irresponsible use of scarce taxpayer dollars reinforces just how broken the system is and how badly it is in need of reform," said Scott Faber of The Environmental Working Group.

This is not the first instance of the government improperly paying dead workers. Back in September 2011, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management released a report citing $120 million a year lost through this type of miscue.

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