The Obama Administration is launching a new aggregated database and online tool intended to help federal agencies identify and prevent duplicate or improper payments.

Called Do Not Pay, the new tool will attempt to make it easier for agencies to avoid sending funds out to dead people or entering into contracts with companies who have attempted to defraud the government.

The new Department of Treasury portal site brings together multiple government databases into one simple check point, and deploys advanced data matching and analytics to identify and stop wasteful errors before they happen.

Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jeffrey Zients said, “As families across the country pay their taxes this week, we are committed to continuing an aggressive campaign to stop misdirected and erroneous payments that represent an unacceptable waste of these tax dollars. With advances in technology and data analytics, we are at a real turning point in this fight and the Do Not Pay tool will allow us to stop more of these payments before they occur.”

While the Obama Administration has frequently noted the rate of government-wide improper payments was rising when it took office, reaching an all-time high of 5.4% in 2009, and is now projected to decrease, little mention was made of the fact that the absolute dollar value of improper payments has climbed substantially since 2008, based on data available on the site.

The following chart breaks out improper payment by program for the most recent fiscal years. (Original chart and key available here.)

Part of that is attributed to the hundreds of billions in extraordinary federal outlays to help stimulate the economy. However, as of 2010, Medicare, Medicaid and Unemployment Insurance still represented the largest sources of improper payments. Among the programs with the highest amounts of improper payments in 2010:

Program Improper
Medicare Fee-for-Service $28.8B
Medicaid $21.9B
Unemployment Insurance (UI) $13.7B
Medicare Advantage (Part C) $12.4B
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) $4.6B
Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI) $4.5B
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) $2.5B
National School Lunch Program (NSLP) $1.7B
Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D) $1.7B
Pell Grants $1B
Rental Housing Assistance Programs $1B

The Administration nevertheless has put forward a series of proposals in the President’s 2013 proposed budget that would save taxpayers an estimated $102 billion over the next decade by reducing payment errors and improving collection of outstanding debts owed to the government. The White House has also issued two Presidential memoranda (which can be found here and here), an Executive Order calling for reducing improper payments, and signed into law the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010.

Following is summary of what the Do Not Pay tool is about and what agencies can expect from it, based on information presented on the website:

What is Do Not Pay?

The Do Not Pay Business Center was developed, as directed by an Executive Memorandum on June 18, 2010, to support federal agencies in their efforts to reduce the number of improper payment made through programs funded by the federal government. Do Not Pay is a one-stop shop that allows agencies to check various databases before making payments or awards in order to identify ineligible recipients and prevent fraud or errors from being made.

How will Do Not Pay help my agency reduce its improper payments?

The Do Not Pay Business Center will provide automated tools, including a web-based single entry access portal, which federal agencies can use to gain access to an array of data sources to assist in determining whether an individual or company is eligible to receive federal payments or engage in federal contracts.

Who will benefit from using Do Not Pay?

Do Not Pay will benefit any Federal Agency that enters into a financial transaction with a person or entity.

Why should my agency use Do Not Pay?

Simply stated, the overall goal for the Do Not Pay initiative is two-fold: to help agencies achieve the Administration’s goal of reducing improper payments while safeguarding the privacy of individuals.

Do Not Pay will help reduce the number of improper payments by providing agencies streamlined access to relevant databases when evaluating eligibility for a payment, as well as prior to making a payment.

Do I have to use Do Not Pay?

The Administration strongly encourages agencies to use Do Not Pay as part of their pre-award and pre-payment processing to determine eligibility before the release of any Federal funds. Using Do Not Pay can assist you with reducing the amount of improper payments.

Can individuals not associated with a government agency access Do Not Pay?

No, only individuals associated with a government agency will be able to enroll in the Do Not Pay Business Center.

How does an agency enroll in Do Not Pay?

Select the Enrollment Tab from the home page and follow the instructions provided. Or simply contact 1-855-837-4391. They will assist you with enrolling in Do Not Pay.

What information do I need to be able to conduct a search in Do Not Pay?

In order to conduct an online search, an individual would enter one of the following combinations of search criteria.

  • Social Security Number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
  • SSN/EIN/TIN and Last Name
  • SSN/EIN/TIN and Last Name and First Name
  • Last Name and First Name
  • Business Name
  • SSN/EIN/TIN and Business Name
  • Business Name and DUNS and Plus 4
  • Business Name and DUNS
  • DUNS
  • DUNS and Plus 4

Will Do Not Pay tell me what to do if a match is found?

No, Do Not Pay will provide users with a summary of matches and in which data source the matches were found. This information is intended to assist the agencies in determining payment eligibility based on the agency’s internal policies and business processes. While Do Not Pay will not tell an agency whether or not to make a payment, it will help them identify anomalies and potential problems.

What is the difference between online, batch and continuous monitoring?

Online capabilities provide for searching a single name or entity.

Batch processing allows users to compare a large number of records against all available sources at one time.

Continuous monitoring allows an agency to perform ongoing comparisons against selected data sources. For example, an agency may supply a file to Do Not Pay that will be compared to the appropriate data sources any time the data sources are refreshed. This eliminates the need to repeatedly send in the same file to Do Not Pay and allows an agency to have the most up-to-date matches against their file. Any time the data source or agency file is updated, a comparison is made and the results are available in the portal.

Do you have to search on all the databases or can you select a specific database?

When you enter information or run a batch job, a search will be performed on all the databases to which you have been given access. There is not a function to allow you to modify the databases your agency searches against.

How often is the data in Do Not Pay updated?

Data sources are updated in different intervals depending on how often the data source agency updates their files. Contact 1-855-Verify-1 (1-855-837-4391) if you have a question about a particular data source.

What databases does Do Not Pay allow agencies to search on?

The following databases are currently available in Do Not Pay:

Death Master File (Public)
Excluded Party List System (Private)
List of Excluded Individual/Entities (Public)
Excluded Party List System (Public)
Debt Check
Central Contractor Registration
The Work Number®

What happens if the search returns information the customer considers incorrect?

Contact 1-855-837-4391. They will assist you in getting in touch with the appropriate agency to correct the problem.

How can an agency request/suggest an enhancement to the program?

Do Not Pay welcomes all comments and suggestions. Please send them to [email protected].

Under what authority was the Do Not Pay program developed?

On June 18, 2010 the President issued an Executive Memorandum directing agencies to check a series of data bases prior to issuing a payment or award. Additionally, the memo called for the creation of a single point of entry to access these databases. The Bureau of the Public Debt (BPD) has been directed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury to take the lead in developing the single point of entry, or Do Not Pay. BPD is working with its fiscal agent, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to help support agency on-boarding and agency relationship management.