Number: 111- 47
Date: July 23, 2010

President Signs S. 1508
“Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010”

On July 22, 2010, President Obama signed S. 1508, the “Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010,” which became Public Law 111-204.

This follows passage of this bill by the House on July 14, 2010 (by a vote of
414 - 0).  The bill as passed by the House was the same bill passed by the Senate on June 23.  (See Legislative Bulletin 111-45.)

The law includes the following provisions of interest to SSA.

Three-Year Review by Agency Head

  • Beginning with the year after enactment, requires the head of each Federal agency to review agency programs and activities every three fiscal years and identify those that may be susceptible to significant improper payments.
    • Defines "significant" to mean improper payments in program or activity payments in the preceding fiscal year that may have exceeded: (1) $10 million and 2.5 percent of program outlays 1 or (2) $100 million.
    • Sets forth risk factors for conducting improper payment reviews, including: (1) whether the program or activity is new to the agency; (2) the volume of payments made; (3) whether payment decisions are made outside of the agency; (4) recent major changes in program funding, authorities, practices, or procedures; (5) the level and quality of personnel training; and (6) significant deficiencies in auditing practices.

Estimates of Improper Payments and Actions to Reduce and Recover Improper Payments

  • Requires agency heads to: (1) produce a statistically valid estimate of the improper payments in their agencies; and (2) include such estimates in their annual financial statements.
  • Expands agency reporting requirements with respect to improper payments to require reports on actions to both reduce the number of improper payments and recover improper payments.

OMB Report Requirement and Authorization for Pilot Projects

  • Requires the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to: (1) report to specified congressional committees in each fiscal year on actions agencies have taken to report on and recover improper payments; and (2) provide guidance to agencies for implementing actions to reduce improper payments and strategies for addressing risks and establishing internal controls. Such report would be due no later than 6 months after enactment.
  • Authorizes the Director of OMB to establish one or more pilot programs to test accountability mechanisms to ensure compliance with this Act and eliminate improper payments.

Agency Head to Conduct Recovery Audits

  • Requires agency heads to conduct recovery audits for agency programs that expend $1 million or more annually, if such audits would be cost-effective.
  • Allows agencies to retain up to 25 percent of funds recovered from a recovery audit to be used to address improper payments; up to 25 percent for the program's original purpose, and up to 5 percent for the Office of Inspector General. The remainder would be returned to General Revenues or the appropriate trust fund. This provision would apply only to recoveries of overpayments made for years after enactment from discretionary appropriations – e.g., SSA's LAE.

Inspector General Report

  • Requires each agency's Inspector General to report each fiscal year on agency compliance with this Act.

Effective Date

  • Unless otherwise specified, the provisions of the law are effective upon enactment.


1 1.5 percent prior to FY 2013.