USDA pays $36.6 million to dead farmers

 Resize text         Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

A new audit is raising more questions on the benefits of farm safety net programs after it revealed that the USDA paid $36.6 million in subsidies to farmers after they had died. In particular, it looked at crop insurance, disaster assistance and conservation program payments.

The audit from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that the USDA “needs to do more to prevent improper payments to decease individuals.”  Read the report here.

The Los Angeles Times reports that while the report represents a fraction of the $10 billion paid in federal subsidies, it comes at a sensitive time as Congress continues to debate the farm bill.

The USDA responded to the GAO’s report, saying in a letter it "generally agrees with the report's findings" and had recently received approval to use the Social Security Administration's death records. See more from the Los Angeles Times here.

A similar GAO report in 2007 sparked an outcry after uncovering $1.1 billion in subsidies to dead farmers, and though frequently cited by critics as examples of wasteful spending, a follow-up report in 2010 found no fraud and determined nearly all the subsidies paid on behalf of dead farmers in recent years were proper. Read, “Review: Most payments to dead farmers are proper.”

Comments (2) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Minnesota  |  August, 01, 2013 at 09:38 AM

So how many dead people continued paying taxes after they died? Don't these politicians know that the IRS doesn't let people die financially? USDA SHOULD continue making payments to dead farmers until all estate taxes and other taxes are paid and the IRS lets them rest in peace.

heir of dead farmer    
indiana  |  August, 02, 2013 at 09:40 AM

When my father passed away there wereaswq 5 years left on his conservation contract. Since we continued the farm operation, we were told we could continue the contract for the remaining years. We were also told that if we chose not to continue, we'd have to pay back part or all of the money he had received to that point for breaking the contract. We decided to continue the contract. The checks now come to the name of the farming operation. But it was originally my deceased fathers contract. I think we are an example of a proper payment to a dead farmer.

AG10 Series Silage Defacers

Loosen silage while maintaining a smooth, compacted bunker space resulting in better feed and less waste. This unique tool pierces, ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Leads to Insight