SAN ANTONIO – The IRS sent $1,200 checks to millions of Americans as part of a stimulus relief package to help people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic but while some people are still waiting on their money, it appears some dead people are getting paid.
People have reported seeing stimulus payments in the bank accounts of their deceased loved ones, according to reports from several news outlets.
“Payments have gone out to surviving spouses and to bank accounts that relatives kept open to settle a dead loved one’s estate,” the Washington Post reported.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) shared a screenshot to Twitter of a conversation between himself and a friend who said his father received a $1,200 stimulus check even though he died in 2018.
Ok this is insane, but just the tip of the iceberg. This is a direct text to me from a friend. I called to confirm this actually just happened. pic.twitter.com/GBRPcmYMXW— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) April 15, 2020
Stimulus checks were sent to people based on federal tax returns from 2018 or 2019, and some people who filed taxes for those years have since died.
The IRS does not have real-time data available for deaths, according to Politico, and records lag as data is passed from states to the federal government.
The White House released a synopsis of remarks made by President Trump in a coronavirus task force press briefing on Friday regarding the issue and Trump said, “Anything - anything that was sent out - it’s like, sometimes you send a check to somebody wrong. Sometimes people are listed, they die, and they get a check. That can happen... We’ll get that back."
IRS spokesman Eric Smith told the Washington Post the government is working on a way to resolve the issue.
Nina Olson, former head of the Taxpayer Advocate Service, told Market Watch that the “CARES Act stimulus bill contained no 'clawback’ provisions for stimulus checks sent to a dead person, meaning the agency can’t retrieve the money after it’s been handed out.”
“This has been a tremendous success. And any mistake that was made, they’ve been caught. And it’s less than 1 percent. That’s a very good percentage. I can tell you, for government,” Trump said in the briefing.
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March. The first case confirmed in the U.S. was in mid-January and the first case confirmed in San Antonio was in mid-February.