In our January Fraud Alert, we provided a targeted selection of social security numbers (SSNs) to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for verification, and they confirmed 20,404 belonged to deceased people, but dates of death were not included. To conduct further analysis, we collaborated with the Department of Treasury’s Do Not Pay (DNP) system to match these 20,404 SSNs against various death data sources to determine the date of death for each SSN-owner. DNP returned dates of death for 15,307 of these SSNs (roughly 75% of the population identified by SSA), which served as the basis for our recent Fraud Alert follow-up. Using the 15,307 SSNs and dates of death provided from DNP, we conducted three analytic scenarios, identifying 3,222 SSNs involved with potential fraud or improper payments. Of the 3,222 SSNs, 305 were associated with disbursements totaling $38M. These findings highlight the importance of improved data sharing and agencies’ use of the DNP system.
What is DNP?
Do Not Pay (DNP) is a centralized, intergovernmental platform designed to support government program administrators in preventing fraud and improper payments. The DNP system makes various public and restricted data sources available to government agencies at no cost. Through advanced data matching and analytic services, DNP enables program administrators to verify applicants’ eligibility to receive federal funds. In addition to pre-payment eligibility verification, DNP also provides continuous monitoring to support agencies throughout the entire payment lifecycle.
Currently, DNP uses these death data sources, which we used in our analysis:
- American InfoSource (AIS) Obituary & Probate - Commercial
- Death Master File (DMF) - Public
- Department of Defense Death Data (DOD) - Public
- Department of State Death Data (DOS) - Public
- Electronic Verification of Vital Events Fact of Death (EVVE FOD) - Commercial
DNP does not have access to SSA’s full Death Master File (DMF), which is considered an authoritative source of death information.
As discussed further in our Fraud Alert follow-up, we concur with the Government Accountability Office recommendation that Congress accelerate and make permanent the requirement that SSA share the full DMF with DNP. By including the full DMF into the death data sources, DNP can help agencies identify misuse of deceased individuals’ information and prevent improper payments.