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IRS sends coronavirus stimulus checks to dead people

The seal of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) hangs on a podium during an IRS Criminal Investigation 100th year anniversary event at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, July 1, 2019. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg

An unlikely group counts itself among the recipients of the coronavirus stimulus checks: the dead.

The IRS began distributing $290 billion in direct cash payments within the past week as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act stimulus bill. As part of the plan, IRS is sending checks of up to $1,200 per individual and $2,400 per married couple over the past several days to weather the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the agency directed some of the one-time payments to bank accounts of deceased individuals, USA Today reported this week.

It’s not immediately clear how many deceased people received the direct deposits.

Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, said Wednesday a friend texted him to say his father, dead since 2018, had just received his $1,200 in stimulus money, according to MarketWatch.

“We’re aware of all the survivor-related questions and we’re still working that issue,” IRS spokesman Eric Smith said. The  Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This isn’t the first time the federal government has issued stimulus checks to the dead.

More than 71,500 dead Social Security recipients received $250 stimulus payments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to a 2010 report from the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General. Deceased Social Security recipients got $18 million of the $13 billion set aside for all Social Security recipients in that Obama-era stimulus package.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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