Can We Talk About How The IRS Sent Stimulus Checks To Over 1M Dead People?

By Nick Ellis, Editor at The Water Coolest

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In April the government handed out a round of $1,200 checks to everyone (and I mean everyone) as a way to deal with the economic slowdown from the coronavirus. If you hadn’t gotten yours yet then muster up the courage to walk out of your house and check your mailbox. And last month it was rumored that a second round was on the way. That, however, has yet to be seen.

Then, yours truly wrote about how to smartly spend your newfound wealth, which would be great advice to follow tbh. But do you know who won’t be following my advice… or reading my articles? Dead people.

What? Yes. The always competent IRS paid out $1.4B in stimulus relief to dead people. Which is astonishingly less than 1% of the total amount of checks sent out. Apparently, there were quite a few individuals (1.17M people based on back-of-the-napkin math) that filed for their 2019 tax returns but then proceeded to die since last April.

The government, trying to fire out these checks as quickly as possible, didn’t take the time to cross-check with death records at the Social Security Administration office for the first three mail runs.

You know what makes matters worse? About 450k low-income households didn’t receive their additional $500 for the children they have. The IRS is apparently working on sending those out by August.

So, to recap, the government shortchanged low-income households from cash they desperately needed, and proceeded to send payments out to the deceased instead.  On the IRS website, it says that stimulus payments to dead people should be returned. Not quite sure how that one would work…

Hopefully, the government uses this as a lesson learned and gets it right the second time around if they end up sending out another round of stimulus checks. Not to get too political, but if we want to cut down on government spending and the $26T+ debt total, I’d say payments to dead people is an easy billion that both sides of the aisle can agree on.

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The Water Coolest is a daily business newsletter consisting of business news, financial advice, and unfiltered commentary. Delivered fresh in your inbox every morning so you're ready to snap necks and cash checks. Written by Tyler Morrin, AJ Glagolev, Nick Ellis, and Ian Barto.