Government waste critic: Deceased will get stimulus checks under Biden $1.9T stimulus plan

"They are going to once again send checks out to dead people," Tom Schatz told Just the News.

Published: February 6, 2021 12:18am

Updated: February 8, 2021 9:07am

Direct stimulus payments will go to deceased people if the Democratic-led Congress passes President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, according to Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste.

The IRS has previously sent stimulus payments to some who have died.

Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act last March. After former President Trump signed it into law, people were reporting that their deceased relatives received stimulus checks or direct payments in their checking accounts. 

"[T]he problem that caused the money to go to these people last time has not been fixed, and it's a relatively simple fix," Schatz said in an interview on the "Just the News AM" show. "The Social Security Administration has what's called the master death file. It is not shared with the Internal Revenue Service, it is shared with other agencies, but not the one where you would really want it to be shared, which is the IRS."

"And there has been legislation to change that," Schatz continued, "because apparently it requires a law for one agency to share information with another. And if they don't fix that, which I do not see in this 1,000-plus page bill, they are going to once again send checks out to dead people." 

Schatz explained that the economic impact payments are based on previously filed tax returns.

"So if somebody paid taxes two years ago, or last year, and has now passed away, that check is going to show up," he said. "And of course, there's fraud related to that as well, people keeping the names of their deceased relatives or parents or siblings and just collecting checks, and they would qualify too, unfortunately."

The issue of deceased people receiving stimulus payments also occurred during the Obama-Biden administration. Nearly 90,000 erroneous stimulus payments were sent out in 2009 to people either incarcerated or no longer alive at the time, as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Now, 12 years later, Schatz said the problem of the wrong recipients receiving government checks is still here.

"It's not just the stimulus checks, it's other payments that go to people who are deceased, because again, they don't have a complete and full accounting of information not just at the federal level, but sometimes states have information that doesn't get up to the federal level about people who have passed away as well," he said. "It's a matter of management — mismanagement, really."

The mission of CAGW is to "eliminate waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency in government."

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