This week, an independent watchdog group found that the U.S. government had sent over a million stimulus checks to deceased Americans, and many taxpayers are not pleased. The payments totaled about $1.4 billion, according to a report by The Washington Post. Now many Americans — including those who did not get a stimulus check of their own, are asking for an explanation.
The federal government has known that many stimulus checks being sent out were addressed to deceased Americans, though they reportedly did not know the extent of the problem. Payments were issued based on the latest tax information available — either 2018 or 2019 — which did not account for many deaths in the country. However, the confusion was even greater than anticipated, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office is suggesting some changes to make sure it doesn't happen again.
The GAO's report advised the IRS that it "should consider cost-effective options for notifying ineligible recipients how to return payments." The IRS agreed with this advice in a public response. However, many analysts have questioned whether the IRS has the power or the capacity to take further actions in seeking repayment of these mistaken stimulus checks, and the GAO reportedly indicated that it does not. The IRS has previously asked the American people to return stimulus checks sent to deceased loved ones.
As for the possibility of future payments, the GAO report calls on Congress to "provide Treasury with access to the Social Security Administration’s full set of death records, and require that Treasury consistently use it, to help reduce similar types of improper payments." Whether there will even be another round of stimulus checks remains in question, but a good chunk of eligible Americans are still waiting on the first check right now.
Those Americans were among the most outraged over the mistaken checks sent to taxpayers that have passed away. Here's a look at what they are saying on social media about the millions of mix-ups.
A joke and no one is laughing.— OtterPop (@_otter_pop) June 26, 2020
The IRS sent 1.1b in stimulus relief to dead people. Why I live in this stupid ass country pic.twitter.com/9LeBkvqUaB— AJ (@Bobbieejohnson) June 25, 2020
That money is long-spent. Please. 😭— Staying in the Game (@AdrienneLaw) June 25, 2020
I checked that same box for my own late mom, dropped it in the mailbox, and then the post office spit it right back. 🙄— Phil Abramson (@phil_abramson) June 25, 2020
Kind of unavoidable in a rush situation, just cross them off the list and give people a second stimulus.— Star Stuff (@BernieBroStar) June 25, 2020
30+ million Americans have still not received a stimulus check. You know who is receiving them? Dead people. Living people are struggling, yet $1.4 billion was sent to dead people.
You couldn't screw things up more if you tried.https://t.co/Ueeuidqimj— Ted (@trom771) June 25, 2020
Earlier this month, we learned that 30 to 35 million Americans are still waiting on stimulus checks
And now, we learn that 1.1 million checks were sent to dead people
So much for the idea that a businessman would be better at running governmenthttps://t.co/b4Et4vFsft— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) June 25, 2020
Why isn't one million stimulus checks sent 2 dead people a bigger deal? That was purposely orchestrated if you ask me. One million checks not being cashed 1200 a pop is 1.2 billion left in the stimulus to dole out to #Trump cronies. There's so much corruption we can't keep up— JJResists 🇺🇸☮✊🕊🗽❄🌊 (@JJResists) June 27, 2020
the us sent $1.4 billion in stimulus checks to DEAD PEOPLE and college students didn’t get shit i just think it’s funny how— (☆_☆) (@vystwrt) June 26, 2020