State Auditor: Retirement Board Paid Thousands to Dead People

A new audit reveals a costly error.

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State Auditor Suzanne Bump. / Courtesy Photo

The Massachusetts State Retirement Board paid nearly $700,000 to dead pensioners, state Auditor Suzzane Bump announced Wednesday.

A recent audit found that the MSRB had not only made more than $687,000 in payments to 105 deceased people, but short-changed living pensioners whose designated beneficiaries had died by more than more than $271,000.

“The MSRB ensures that public employees who have served the people of our state for years are able to provide for themselves and their families in retirement,” Bump said in a release. “I’m pleased that the MSRB has taken swift action to recoup funds, correct underpayments, and ensure that this problem does not occur in the future. The quick action to recognize and resolve the problem is an important step in restoring the public’s trust in government.”

Bump’s office says the error occurred when the MSRB’s contractor, LexisNexis, did not notify the board of new requirements needed to access the Social Security Administration’s “Death Master File.” As a result, the MSRB was not made aware of deaths between March 26, 2014 and August 31, 2015. Recipients of these payments had been dead for a median of 103 days.

Bump’s office says the problem has been sorted out between the MSRB and LexisNexis, and roughly $608,785 of these mistaken payments have been recovered.