Stimulus funds meant to assist Americans amid the coronavirus crisis are being sent to deceased individuals according to multiple reports, and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) says such instances are “just the tip of the iceberg” of misplaced spending in the COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress.
What are the details?
On Wednesday, Massie tweeted out a screenshot from his cellphone showing a friend had texted him the message, “Dad got his stimulus check of $1200. He died in (redacted) 2018. Does he have to spent it online?”
“Ok this is insane, but just the tip of the iceberg,” the congressman tweeted. “This is a direct text to me from a friend. I called to confirm this actually just happened.”
In an interview with The Washington Examiner the same day, Massie said, “It’s the tip of the iceberg because what about the misplaced $12 million dollar loan or $20 million through these other programs?”
He added, “Everyone is in such a rush to get this money out the door and into the economy that the normal tests that you run on these accounts and recipients before you give the money shouldn’t have all been suspended. It’s just like a mad rush to get the money out the door.”
On Friday, reports emerged from multiple mainstream media outlets confirming numerous instances of stimulus cash going to dead people from the $2 trillion CARES Act.
Jeanne Siracuse, who lives in Virginia, told NBC News that $1,200 had been deposited into her deceased mother’s account. “Obviously, she does not need stimulus right now,” Siracuse told the outlet. “It’s not something she would have wanted to happen She was very conservative and would not want to see that kind of waste.”
Forbes reported that several people have taken to Twitter asking what to do with the funds sent to their dead relatives, concerned that the government would want the extra cash paid back at some point.
NBC News interviewed a number of experts and sources who concluded loved ones can “probably” keep the government funds sent to the deceased.
The outlet reported that “one congressional aide said there’s no provision in the law to claw back the money and that doing so would mean taking money away from widows and widowers.”
As for Ms. Siracuse, she plans to return the $1,200 sent to her deceased mother back to the U.S. Treasury. “We don’t want it,” she said. “It’s not who this stimulus was supposed to benefit.”