HUD paying millions to the dead

  • 25 July 2019
  • NormanL

The federal government has long had a problem with paying money to the wrong people. That includes people who've died. And as this item notes, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been paying the dead millions of dollars every year despite the existence of a program designed to prevent it:

In 2016, Congress passed the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act to update and improve the federal programs that help low-income families obtain housing.

One of the provisions in the bill was intended to benefit the taxpayers.

The bill included a provision that requires HUD to provide the public housing authorities that administer these programs access to the Do Not Pay System – a federal database created in 2012 to help federal programs combat improper payments.

The HUD Office of Inspector General (HUD OIG) recently checked in to see if HUD complied with this provision in the new law.

The OIG found that HUD had not provided access to the Do Not Pay System, relying on a less comprehensive database that let more than two thousand ineligible tenants slide through the cracks.

This includes providing $6.1 million to 729 tenants that were reported as deceased.

It's bad enough that bureaucratic bungling (or even spite) has allowed this to happen. What's worse is the millions HUD paid to the living who were barred from getting any federal assistance money at all:

HUD’s decision to not follow the law also resulted in the payment of $13.7 million in rental subsidies to 1550 tenants that were barred from receiving federal assistance – predominately because they faced convictions for program related crimes. The vast majority of these tenants had been on the Do Not Pay list for more than 3 years. One check could have prevented this.

Yes, it would. And those inside HUD who didn't (or wouldn't) do the checking should be asking whether they have considered careers outside of government.