The Natural Resources Conservation Service, which oversees the Agriculture Department’s conservation programs, sent out $10.6 million in payments between 2008 and 2012 to more than 1,000 people who had been dead for more than a year, according to the report.The Risk Management Agency, which administers the crop insurance program, paid $22 million to more than 3,400 policyholders who had been dead for at least two years. The G.A.O. said that some of those payments might have been made while the farmer was still alive, but that there was no way to know for sure.
This isn’t the first time this summer we’ve heard of government payments to dead people. A state audit in May found that Massachusetts had been sending millions in welfare payments to 1,160 people who were either dead or using a dead person’s Social Security number.Mark this down as another reason our public officials and policy leaders need to start thinking of ways to make government simpler and more efficient. Cash transfers from the young to the old are one thing; transfers from the living to the dead are another.[Image of farm with cross courtesy of Shutterstock]