Audit finds benefit payments made to dead retiree
Midland — Midland County continued to make pension benefit payments to a retiree living in Florida 13 months after that person’s death, according to an audit.
The finding was part of a 2014 financial report presented last week to county commissioners.
Payments were direct deposited into a bank account.
“The retiree’s partner was taking care of the money that came into the bank account,” County Finance Director Tori Meyer said.
After officials learned of the death, the case was turned over to the county’s legal counsel in an attempt to recoup the pension payments.
“Not all your retirees are living in this area, so how do you know when somebody dies?” said Doug Deeter, principal with the company that conducted the annual financial report and audit.
Tighter internal controls over pension benefit payments have been recommended. The county’s Finance Department also will search a national database for obituary notices.
“At least once a year the county will identify those retirees that have submitted medical claims in the last six months,” Meyer said. “We’re going to assume they are still alive and we are not going to bother with them. Anybody who hasn’t had recent activity we’re going go online and target them.”