Many Qualifying Americans Don’t Receive Stimulus Checks, Prisoners and Deceased People Do
A new report by a government watchdog agency found that over a billion dollars in stimulus money allocated by the CARES Act was sent to deceased people. This news comes as stories surface about the government attempting to retract payments accidentally given to prisoners.
The Government Accountability Office found that as of April 30, nearly $1.4 billion had been sent to deceased individuals, in over a million separate payments.
According to Politico, the Internal Revenue Service was under the impression that checks should be mailed to the deceased, but quickly reversed the decision.
“The administration later reversed itself, and began trying to block payments going to the dead while asking survivors to return those that did slip through,” Politico reports. “The report does not say what prompted the agency to reverse course, when it decided to change direction or who made the decision.”
The agency was under pressure to get the payments out quickly and the “IRS counsel subsequently determined that IRS did not have the legal authority to deny payments to those who filed a return in 2019, even if they were deceased at the time of payment,” the GAO told Politico.
Prisoners also received the long-awaited ‘Trump check,’ and now the government wants them back, TIME reports. The group is not specifically excluded from receiving payments, creating a loophole for those behind bars to received old-age and survivor insurance benefit payments,” according to the report.
The IRS doesn’t have a clear indication of how much money was issued to prisoners, but according to TIME, The Kansas Department of Correction claims to have stopped over $200,000 in the checks by June, and, in Idaho in Montana, $90,000 of additional checks were obtained.
While deceased individuals and prisoners received money, many law-abiding and living Americans did not.
CNBC reported on information found by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimating 12 million people may not receive their stimulus checks. The report indicated that an estimated 159 million checks had already been sent out.
The report also named those who haven’t worked for a long period of time, low-income adults without children, and low-income families with children, as the highest at risk for not receiving the money.