The deceased are receiving payments for the economic impact of COVID
Complaints about appropriations of federal support to people who have already died have surfaced
By Ana Maria Enciso Noguera
From the urge remains the fatigue. The accuracy of the expression has been confirmed again with the numerous cases of people already dead who have received the $1,200 approved by Congress to reduce the economic impact of COVID-19.
Since mid-April, comments began to appear in social media of citizens confused and outraged because they had seen a check appear in their mailbox in the name of a loved one who had already passed away or the deposit had arrived in their bank account.
This happened to people who had died in 2019, 2018 or even earlier. According to Mark Everson, who worked as an IRS inspector from 2003 to 2007, what happened in this case was that the IRS made a trade–off: in exchange for gaining speed, it lost accuracy.
Had it reviewed case by case, comparing it to Social Security records, it would have taken weeks or months to send the checks that citizens were so badly in need of.
And the IRS is, strictly speaking, complying with the law by sending checks to people who have already died, because the law passed by Congress makes no exceptions for those who died in 2018 or 2019 after paying taxes, Nina Olson, former head of the Taxpayer Defense Service, an IRS internal oversight body, told the LA Times.
“The law tells the IRS to look at what the taxpayer reported on their 2019 return. ‘Look at their income and their filing status. If they are eligible based on that, make the payment.’ It doesn’t say, ‘Don’t make the payment to dead people,’” Olson said.
So that same exchange of precision for speed that the IRS made was made by Congress.
Although complaints continue to pile up on social media, there is no official data on how many people have been affected by this problem, nor is there an official statement on how they plan to solve it. Today, however, the IRS released what to do if you receive a check or consignment in the name of a deceased family member: return the money.