As millions of Americans are still waiting to get their coronavirus relief stimulus checks, it has been reported that the IRS sent a $1,200 payment to "rich" British National living overseas. According to MSN, a woman named Elizabeth B. was shocked to find the money deposited into her bank account. Notably, Elizabeth asked that her last name be kept private, as she is concerned about backlash.
"I was totally shocked," she told the outlet during a phone interview from her home in London. "I never for a minute thought it was a possibility that I would get this money. I’m a rich foreigner getting American money. I don’t deserve this money. There are so many people in America who need it. I appreciate that the IRS had to get the money out fast so they couldn’t do thorough checks. But it just feels so wrong to have it in my account."
As far as why Elizabeth received the money, she explained to MSN that for several years she worked as a communications consultant in New York on an E-2 investor visa. She was issued a Social Security number, and she paid taxes, as is required under the conditions of this type of visa. In 2018, she earned $13,000 over the course of a few months, eventually returning to Britain. Notably, had she remained in the United States for the entire year, her annual income would have surpassed the $99,000 individual limit to be eligible for a stimulus payment.
While Elizabeth's situation seems to be very unique, many other citizens are finding similar situations taking place. In one case, a man named Martin Dueñes surprisingly discovered that his father — who passed away in 2019 — received a check. “As his successor trustee, I made certain that all appropriate agencies were notified of his death," he told MSN. "And yet I still received a check in the mail [April 27] for $1,200."
"Am I to interpret this to mean they are acknowledging that he is deceased?" he asked. "Am I supposed to accept this money anyway? Am I supposed to return it? I realize this was a gargantuan effort to help U.S. citizens with the economic impact that the coronavirus pandemic has caused, but my fear is my dad’s case is not isolated. I can imagine the millions of dollars that are going unchecked and that could have been utilized on those truly in need."