The $32 million was paid by USDA's Risk Management Agency, which administers crop insurance, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The RMA "does not have procedures in place consistent with federal internal control standards to prevent potentially improper subsidies on behalf of deceased individuals," and NRCS "does not have procedures to prevent potentially improper payments to deceased individuals," the GAO said. It said the agencies need to do more to prevent such payments.
NRCS allows "an executor or other representative to act on his or her behalf to transfer the contract to an eligible successor or to complete the contracted activities," the audit said. It paraphrased NRCS as saying "not all conservation payments to deceased individuals are improper because they may have been made for work performed before the individuals died, or they were associated with easement contracts that became part of the deceased individuals’ estates and remained linked to their Social Security numbers."