Over one million deceased Americans receive $1.4B in stimulus checks

by Abdulmumeen S. Yitta

Over one million deceased Americans receive $1.4B in stimulus checks

Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan congressional agency has found out that over a million deceased Americans received stimulus payment that amount to $1.4 billion.

The payment is a part of over 160 million payments worth $269 billion sent out by the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department as stimulus package checks.

Report by the Government Accountability Office is a result of an attempt to provide a comprehensive review of the federal government response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The GAO report revealed on Thursday June 25, 2020, that Treasury and the IRS used the previous operational policies and procedures to send out the first three batches of the stimulus payment to ensure rapid delivery to the beneficiaries.

The report therefore stated that IRS’ legal counsel made clear its stand on the issue of the payment saying that IRS has no legal authority to deny payment to those who filed for 2018 and 2019 returns even if they were dead at the time the payment is being made.

Americans who had received the payment on behalf of their dead loved ones initially thought they could keep the money but IRS concluded otherwise saying that the payment should be returned because those who have died are not entitled to the relief package.

The reported noted that at the moment IRS does not have any plan of notifying ineligible recipients including about 1.1 million deceased Americans who received the payment in 30th April.

It therefore recommends that IRS consider a way of notifying them using a system that would be cost effective.

In March, under CARES Act, a stimulus package of $2 trillion was passed by the Congress mainly to assist American businesses and workers affected by the economic heat form the coronavirus.

Using the 2018 or 2019 income tax returns, Americans eligible for the payment received Economic Impact Payments. Alternatively, some Americans received checks based on their simple tax return.

Checks for $1,200 was given to Americans whose income amount to $75,000 yearly, while $1,200 check was sent out to couples with $150,000 annual income including those filing a joint tax return. They also received $500 per qualifying child.

Individuals who earned $75,000 yearly and have about $99,000 income cap or couples earning $198,000 a year had their payment decreased.

In its COVID-19 Opportunities to Improve Federal Response and Recovery Efforts, the GAO report also reviewed several federal agencies actions in response to the coronavirus pandemic ranging from data collection on viral testing, distribution of medical supplies, and disbursement of relief fund and loans.

The agency in the same vein criticized Small Business Administration for providing aid to large companies under its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which is primarily intended to assist small businesses stay afloat of the economic strait occasioned by the pandemic.

Several businesses have lodged complaints that they did not have access to the loan or that they did not receive enough funds to keep their businesses running.

Meanwhile, President Trump disclosed last week that his administration is preparing to give out another round of generous stimulus package checks to help Americans with the economic hardship that faces the country.

Similarly, in May this year, the $3 trillion HEROES Act with another round of direct payments was passed by the Democratic-led House.

Though the Senate, largely controlled by Republicans is yet to vote on it because they wanted to find out if there is need for giving out additional aids to Americans.

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