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$1.4 Billion In Stimulus Checks Were Sent To Over A Million Deceased People. Here’s What We Know.

With all the struggles people were having in receiving their stimulus checks, would you believe that over a million deceased civilians received COVID-19 stimulus payments, totaling $1.4 billion!?! How crazy is that?

This was part of a large review of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the GAO.

The reports show us a much clearer picture of what has been called a muddled roll out by the IRS of more than 160 million payments worth $269 billion.

In March, Congress passed the $2 trillion stimulus package in hopes to soften the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic for U.S. employees and businesses. This helped SO many families, including my own. But some were struggling to receive their stimulus checks.

All eligible U.S. citizens received stimulus checks based on their 2019 income tax returns or by filling out a basic tax return. Most adults received $1,200 with an additional $500 per qualifying child.

GAO’s report said for Treasury officials to deliver payments as “rapidly as possible,” Treasury and the IRS sent out the first three batches of payments using previous operational policies and procedures for stimulus payments “which did not include using [Social Security Administration] death records as a filter to halt payments to decedents.”

GAO also reported that IRS’ legal counsel had “determined that the IRS did not have the legal authority to deny payments to those who filed a return for 2019, even if they were deceased at the time of payment,” and had advised applying the same rules to recipients who had filed a 2018 return.

According to GAO, there was an initial backlog when the IRS began sending the first round of payments. Relatives of the deceased U.S. citizens from all over the country have said that they received the stimulus check on behalf of the loved one.

Families originally believed that they could keep the payments, but the IRS updated its guidance in May saying that people who have died do not qualify for the coronavirus relief payments and “should be returned to the IRS.”

What are your thoughts on this? Obviously the money is meant for those who are currently living to aid them during this hard time. But I also know it probably is not a good feeling to return extra money, especially if you are going through a tough time. My heart goes out to those in need during this time.