government has a problem with dead people. For one thing, it pays
them way too much money. U.S.
In the past few years, Social Security paid $133 million to beneficiaries who were deceased. The federal employee retirement system paid more than $400 million to retirees who had passed away. And an aid program spent $3.9 million in federal money to pay heating and air-conditioning bills for more than 11,000 of the dead.
These mistakes are part of a surprising glitch at the heart of the federal bureaucracy. Because of a jury-rigged and outdated system meant to track deaths, the government has trouble determining exactly which Americans are deceased.
As a result,
is bedeviled by both the living dead and the dead living.
The first group are people who have died but are counted as alive in federal records. Their benefits keep coming. Millions of dollars pile up in unwatched accounts. Millions more are spent by feckless relatives. In one recent record-breaking case, a son stole his dead father’s federal benefits for 26 years.