The federal government made roughly $100 billion in payments to people who might not have been entitled to them, according to a new report in The Associated Press.
Some of the improper payments made in 2013 include unqualified tax credits, unemployment benefits given to employed citizens, and payments for unnecessary medical treatments. The Government Accountability Office suggests the actual amount may be even higher.
The vast majority of the improper payments were overpayments, which accounted for $97 billion, while $9 billion in underpayments also occurred.
Improper payments peaked at $121 billion in 2010, and the Obama administration has reduced the number of improper payments since then. Still, the estimates show how much money government departments are wasting when the country is trying to lower its spending.
"The amounts here are absolutely staggering," Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., told the AP. "It's over $100 billion each of the last five years. That's a staggering half a trillion dollars in improper payments."