Accuracy And Reliability Of DOT’s Improper Payment Reporting Can Be Improved
The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA) encourages the elimination of payment error, waste, fraud, and abuse in Federal programs. IPERA requires annually that agencies test for and report on improper payments in their programs and that inspectors general review their agencies’ IPERA compliance.
We found that the Department’s improper payment testing report for fiscal year 2013 included all of the Office of Management and Budget’s required IPERA reporting elements. DOT reported that its programs met IPERA’s requirement that less than 10 percent of total payments be improper and that it made specific progress in reducing improper payment estimates for the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal-Aid Highway program below IPERA’s threshold for significant risk. However, one of the Federal Transit Administration’s tested programs—the Formula Grant Program—did not achieve its own target to reduce improper payments to 0.25 percent or less for fiscal year 2013 as set by Office of Management and Budget guidelines. DOT acknowledged that unmet target reduction rates create a risk that its Operating Administrations will not progress in reducing their improper payments. DOT’s 2013 report also included inaccurate information on the number of payments tested, improper payment estimates for 2012, and costs of DOT’s payment recapture audit. DOT officials acknowledged that its 2013 report included these inaccuracies and attributed them to poor screening of data files and administrative oversight errors.
We made three recommendations to improve the accuracy and reliability of DOT’s improper payment reporting. DOT officials concurred with our findings and recommendations.