There have been many cases of deceased Americans receiving coronavirus stimulus checks, a glitch blamed on the IRS just not knowing about the taxpayer's death before the checks were sent. However, one strange case in a Dallas suburb showed the IRS knew about a 93-year-old grandmother's death, but still sent her a check. The check even marked her "deceased."
"Honestly, I think my grandmother would think this was funny as hell," Philip Ray, a lawyer who wished to keep his grandmother anonymous, told the Dallas Morning News. "I think she would be laughing and she would cash the stupid thing. She'd say, 'Well, I'll go buy some groceries with it.' She was unbelievably practical. This is just an unbelievable level of incompetency."
Ray's grandmother died on Dec. 17. She lived in Farmers Branch, Texas, for decades and was a widow for the last 40 years of her life. She and her husband were survived by four children and 16 grandchildren. Her stimulus check listed "dscd" for deceased after her name, and the check was sent in care of her daughter, the executor of the estate. However, the estate has already been settled.
"The only reason they sent it to my mom is because she was the executor," Ray explained. "The house is sold. She closed everything out. Everything’s done. They even filed her 2019 taxes at the end of 2019." Ray said his mother was "astounded" when she saw the check and laughed when she called him about it. Ray said his family will send the money back if the IRS asks and they don't plan on cashing it. For Ray, he was shocked because he and his wife still have not received their check.
Almost immediately after physical checks began arriving, reports of deceased Americans receiving them began sprouting. Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky shared a photo of a check his father's friend received, even though the father died in 2018. Scott Gustin tweeted that his grandmother, who died in 2018, received a check as well.
Americans should be returning the money sent to deceased taxpayers, Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Wall Street Journal. "You're not supposed to keep that payment," he explained. "We're checking the databases, but there could be a scenario where we missed something, and yes, the heirs should be returning that money. We will be issuing guidance on this shortly."
The Economic Impact Payments are part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act signed into law last month. They entitle American taxpayers who filed taxes for 2018 or 2019 up to $1,200 per person and $500 per dependant under 17 years old. Millions have already received payments through direct deposit and physical checks are going out now. There have been several glitches throughout the process though.