My dog ate my stimulus: Best of Recovery recipients’ excuses


The Obama administration has made an unprecedented effort to use technology to publicly chronicle the flow of massive amounts of stimulus money, but government is slow to adapt, and not all of those who do business with it are so tech-savvy. 

Inaccuracies in data, from too-high job creation numbers to dollar amounts for awards given as “999999999” (probably as a placeholder) to reams of blank fields, make it difficult to assess how well or poorly the stimulus is doing. Many of those problems can be laid at the feet of those providing the information: the recipients of grants, contracts and loans themselves.

An electronic form asking for explanation from beneficiaries who either filed reports late or had to re-file to correct errors lends some insight into the data quality issues. Some complained of a system that was rapidly put into place and didn’t work as well as it could have. Others offered comical excuses to explain why their data was late.

Here’s a round-up of some of the best Recovery Act excuses, straight from beneficiaries’ keyboards:

Inability to understand reporting.

I was out of the office for two weeks with pneumonia and did not have access to the Internet to submit these reports.

Bond and insurance was not due until 10/13/09.Plus was waiting on tellaconference.

Impossible registration process.  unable to reach help desk in less than 2 hours, registration process ultimtely took an extra week to accomplish.

HAd difficulty geeting all the necessary codes and passwords. Help desk number was constantly busy. I could not get through to get any help.

I was off on Friday and had not had all my information by Thursday, Since Monday was a Holiday I am submitting this report on Tuesday.  I was also confused on the date, I thought we had until the 15th but that was my mistake.

I am new to this reporting and was unaware that a separate report for the loan portion or our award was needed. The grant portion was submitted on time.

unclear & incomplete registration instrucions provided.Once provided the correct registration information the wait time for CCR to ‘read’ the correct Duns information then for Federal Reporting to ‘read’ the CCR information and issue a FRPIN was way too long. The wait for phone help from took hours on hold. This report would have been filed timely if a set of instructions was given.

The SDTHA is located in a rural NM, and has a dish to pick up internet access.  The company Starband acquired a different satallite to send their signal and did not inform our office that this would be occurring.  This happened right before the reporting deadline and just today (Thrusday) did we receive a temporary signal.

Could not get FRPIN number and could not get someone on phone or chat to help fill out the report until 10/13/2009. The report required information that required going to both CDC, CRC and other agencies to get all required information. this is really difficult for a small company who has not done this before

Had difficult time attempting to submit tried four times before sussessful.

Working through this system was not a simple process.

System was down and did not allow entry for > 2 weeks.  Situation was rectified the evening of 10/13/2009.

I did not get my system set up in time to meet the deadline and I was not able to get all the necessry code information loaded until today. This will not happen again.

Although the award was in August, there was a delay in the start due to the Presidnet’s Father passing away.

Sorry, I was unaware of the requirement.