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Memorandum on Enhancing Payment Accuracy Through a "Do Not Pay List"

June 18, 2010

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

Subject: Enhancing Payment Accuracy Through a "Do Not Pay List"

My Administration is committed to eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in Federal programs, including reducing and recapturing erroneous payments—a commitment I reinforced in Executive Order 13520 of November 20, 2009, and in a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies (agencies) of March 10, 2010. While identifying and recapturing improper payments is important, prevention of payment errors before they occur should be the first priority in protecting taxpayer resources from waste, fraud, and abuse. In those cases where data available to agencies clearly shows that a potential recipient of a Federal payment is ineligible for it, subsequent payment to that recipient is unacceptable. We must ensure that such payments are not made.

Agencies maintain many databases containing information on a recipient's eligibility to receive Federal benefits payments or Federal awards, such as grants and contracts. By checking these databases before making payments or awards, agencies can identify ineligible recipients and prevent certain improper payments from being made in the first place.

Therefore, I hereby direct agencies to review current pre-payment and pre-award procedures and ensure that a thorough review of available databases with relevant information on eligibility occurs before the release of any Federal funds, to the extent permitted by law. At a minimum, agencies shall, before payment and award, check the following existing databases (where applicable and permitted by law) to verify eligibility: the Social Security Administration's Death Master File, the General Services Administration's Excluded Parties List System, the Department of the Treasury's Debt Check Database, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Credit Alert System or Credit Alert Interactive Voice Response System, and the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General's List of Excluded Individuals/Entities. This network of databases, and additional databases so designated by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in consultation with agencies, shall be collectively known as the "Do Not Pay List." This memorandum requires agencies to review these databases with the recognition that there may be circumstances when the law nevertheless requires a payment or award to be made to a recipient listed in them. My Administration began coordination of the databases discussed in this memorandum in April 2010 by launching the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS), which integrates various sources of information on the eligibility of Government contractors for award. No later than 120 days of the date of this memorandum, the Director of the OMB shall provide to the President a plan for completing integration for the remaining databases, to the extent permitted by law, so that agencies can access them through a single entry point.

Each agency shall, within 90 days of the date of this memorandum, submit to the OMB a plan that includes information on its current pre-payment and pre-award procedures and a list of databases that the agency checks pursuant to those procedures. Within 180 days of the date of this memorandum, the Director of the OMB shall issue guidance, to be developed in consultation with affected agencies and taking into account current agency pre-payment and pre-award practices, on actions agencies must take to carry out this memorandum's requirements. This guidance shall clarify that the head of each agency is responsible for ensuring an efficient and accurate process for determining whether the information provided on the "Do Not Pay List" is sufficient to stop a payment, consistent with applicable laws and regulations, and, if so, whether a payment should be stopped under the circumstances. In addition, this guidance shall identify best practices and databases that agencies should utilize to conduct pre-payment checks to ensure that only eligible recipients receive Government benefits or payments.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The Director of the OMB is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.


NOTE: This memorandum was published in the Federal Register on June 23.

Barack Obama, Memorandum on Enhancing Payment Accuracy Through a "Do Not Pay List" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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