Real Government Programs That Sound Fishy... But Aren't

If there’s one complaint every taxpayer loudly voices about the government, it’s that there’s way too many agencies, boards, and programs. But what if some of those weird government departments were actually doing things that helped society? For instance, there’s a government agency whose sole purpose is to help you get free money. That’s all they do!

Most of the obscure government agencies on this list came out of the New Deal idea of giving people jobs in order to jump start the economy. And it's hard not to be on board with anything that makes life strange while boosting the economy. Keep reading to learn about even more obscure government agencies, departments, and programs. They sound made up, but they're all really real.

When you start looking at all of the weird government agencies that make up America, the hyper-efficient world and bureaucratic world of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil comes to mind. It turns out that no matter what you do, there are a couple of weird federal government agencies policing your strange interests. And as obscure as some of the agencies are on this list, they could get even weirder. Where are the government agencies for ghost hunters and competitive eaters? After you read this list of weird government agencies remember to go get your free money.

  • The Department of Unclaimed Funds

    The Department of Unclaimed Funds
    Photo: Cooperweb / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    This might be the best federal agency that ever created. If you suspect that the government owes you money, whether it's thousands of dollars or just a few cents, all you have to do is go to their website, type in your information, and get a check.

    It's sort of like your senile grandmother but less sad. And the payouts are potentially much, much bigger. Make sure to "search by state."

  • The U.S. Board on Geographic Names

    Do you think there's a map out there that messed up the name of your home town? Then this is the government agency you call to get that taken care of. Honestly, you can probably call them and talk about what you had for lunch. They seem like they could use the company
  • The Office of Strategic Plans

    The Office of Strategic Plans
    Photo: stefan.erschwendner / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Doesn't "Office of Strategic Plans" sound like a something Dwight would come up with on The Office? If you want to know what they actually do, it's simple: "The Office of Strategy, Planning, Analysis and Risk (SPAR) provides the Department with an integrated and DHS-wide capability for strategy development, strategic planning, long-term assessment, and decision analysis, including statistical and economic analysis and risk assessment and modeling."

    These are the guys you want on your Settlers of Catan team. 

  • The Human Factors and Behavioral Sciences Division

    The Human Factors and Behavioral Sciences Division
    Photo: Inventorchris / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    No, this isn't a Devo cover band. The HF&BSD applies "social and behavioral sciences to improve detection, analysis, and understanding and response to homeland security threats." Doesn't sound sinister or invasive at all, does it?