Press releases

WASHINGTON – The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) today unanimously passed Sens. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) and Tom Carper’s (D-Del.) Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act. The bipartisan bill would curb erroneous payments to deceased individuals and save taxpayers millions of dollars.

In 2020, the senators’ Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act became law and established provisions to fix inefficiencies among government agencies’ communications that led the government to make erroneous payments to deceased individuals. The current proposal would make those solutions permanent. 

“The committee was right to advance our bipartisan bill to save taxpayers millions of dollars. There’s no reason for hard working Americans to be on the hook for government’s mistaken payments to dead people. The full Senate should pass our bill immediately,” said Kennedy.

“It’s important that we, as lawmakers, act as good stewards of American taxpayer dollars. Today, I was proud to join my colleagues on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to unanimously advance the Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act. Through my time in the Senate, I have worked hard to end improper payments and curb waste in government. I’m grateful for my partnership with Senator Kennedy as we continue this critical work, and I look forward to the whole Senate considering this bipartisan, commonsense legislation,”said Carper. 

The Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act would amend the Social Security Act to allow the Social Security Administration to share the Death Master File—a record of deceased individuals—with the Treasury Department’s Do Not Pay system on a permanent basis. This change would reign in the government’s pattern of making improper payments to deceased people into the future.

The bill would also allow Treasury’s Do Not Pay working system to compare death information from the Social Security Administration with personal information from other entities and to share this information with any paying or administering agency authorized to use the Do Not Pay system.


  • Kennedy and Carper's Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act became law in December 2020. The bill mandates the sharing of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File with the Department of the Treasury’s Do Not Pay working system for three years after enactment. The three-year exchange runs from December 27, 2023 to December 27, 2026.
  • In FY2023 alone, the Government Accountability Office estimated that federal agencies made an estimated $236 billion in improper payments in FY 2023, including payments to deceased Americans. The GAO estimated the cumulative federal improper payments have totaled about $2.7 trillion since FY 2003. 
  • In 2021, Kennedy wrote this op-ed sounding the alarm on alarm on billions in erroneous payments made by the government to deceased Americans.
  • In 2019, Kennedy questioned U.S. Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Hon. Gene L. Dodaro about improper payments to deceased people. 

Full text of the Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act is available here.