Nearly $1.4 Billion In Coronavirus Relief Payments Sent To Dead People

The Government Accountability Office states the IRS did not use death records for the very first three batches of coronavirus relief payments– which account for 72% of the nearly $270 billion in payments dispensed so far.

Eric Gay/AP

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Eric Gay/AP

The Government Accountability Office states the IRS did not utilize death records for the first three batches of coronavirus relief payments– which represent 72% of the nearly $270 billion in payments dispensed so far.

Eric Gay/AP

Far, the IRS has actually distributed over 160 million payments– worth nearly $270 billion– to people for coronavirus relief.

The IRS did not utilize those death records, which are maintained by the Social Security Administration, for the very first three batches of coronavirus relief payments– which represent 72% of the money gave to date.

The Government Accountability Office said the error included practically 1.1 million checks and direct deposits sent to ineligible Americans. The payments belonged to the coronavirus aid bundle passed in March understood as the CARES Act.

The IRS sent nearly $1.4 billion in coronavirus relief payments to dead Americans, a brand-new report by an independent government agency programs.

The IRS had actually developed a process in 2013 to use death records to prevent inappropriate payments to dead people. It bypassed these controls for coronavirus relief payments, the GAO found.

The incorrect payments occurred since of confusion over whether dead people need to get payments, the GAO report concludes.

It wasnt till later, after the Treasury Department realized that payments had actually been made to dead individuals, that it determined in conjunction with legal counsel that those who had actually passed away since the date of the payment were not eligible for relief money.

The IRS was uncertain about whether the law allowed it to deny relief payments to the deceased. And the Treasury Department was “uninformed the payments might go to decedents,” the GAO found.

An NPR investigation in May discovered that Americans who had died as early as January 2018 had received checks from the IRS.

In the chaotic early days, as the IRS was preparing to send out countless payments, the tax bureau bypassed established procedures, declined to use available death records and did not plainly communicate with the Treasury Department, which oversees its work.

“While it is vital that our constituents get stimulus payments rapidly, these improper payments to departed people represent considerable federal government waste and a concern to constituents who wrongly accept the payments,” the lawmakers stated in a letter.

In its report, the Government Accountability Office said the IRS needs to think about ways of actively alerting ineligible receivers about how to return improperly dispensed payments.

In reaction to NPRs story, a bipartisan group of lawmakers demanded responses from the Treasury Department and the IRS about the number of dead Americans received the payments and what steps the federal government will take to recover the improperly dispensed cash.

The IRS has released guidelines on its website for how to return payments.

The Treasury Department previously informed NPR that payments made to individuals who died before the coronavirus relief payment was gotten ought to be returned to the federal government.