"As Congress searches for ways to generate savings, reduce the deficit, and fund federal programs, it has held hearings and passed legislation to prevent and recover improper payments. Improper payments—which exceeded $137 billion in FY2015—are payments made in an incorrect amount, payments that should not have been made at all, or payments made to an ineligible recipient or for an ineligible purpose. The total amount of improper payments may be even higher than reported because several agencies have yet to determine improper payment amounts for all of their programs.
In 2002, Congress passed the Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA; P.L. 107-300; 116 Stat.
2350), which established an initial framework for identifying, measuring, preventing, and
reporting on improper payments at each agency. That same year, Congress also passed legislation,
the Recovery Audit Act (P.L. 107-107; Section 831; 115 Stat. 1186), which required agencies that
awarded more than $500 million annually in contracts to establish programs to recover
overpayments to contractors..."
Improper payments legislation