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Gephardt: $1.4 billion in stimulus payments went to deceased Americans

By Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV | Posted - Jun. 29, 2020 at 9:04 a.m.



SANDY — Dead people don’t need stimulus money — but many got it.

The KSL Investigators first reported the story about two months ago after hearing from about a dozen Utahns who said their deceased loved ones had received a $1,200 economic impact payment from the federal government.

Randy Malmstrom’s mother, who had died two years ago, got a paper check in the mail. Her name was printed on the check followed with “DECD,” indicating that the U.S. Department of the Treasury knew she was deceased.

The IRS has declined to answer how much was being sent to deceased people when asked by KSL TV, but they had to answer when asked by the government accountability office.

According to its report out last week, Malmstrom’s mother was in good company.

“As of April 30, almost 1.1 million payments totaling nearly $1.4 billion had gone to decedents,” the report reads.

How was such an expensive blunder possible? After all, the feds know when someone is dead. Simple — the “IRS did not use the death records,” the report stated.

Malmstrom said if another stimulus is coming the feds need to do a better job saving on so much postage and paper.

“I know enough about a spreadsheet, you can pretty easily sort out people who’ve passed away,” she said.

Randy Malmstrom’s mother, who had died two years ago, got a paper stimulus check in the mail. (Photo: KSL TV)

According to a statement from the IRS, “A payment made to someone who died before receipt of the payment should be returned to the IRS.”

The IRS sent KSL TV instructions for how to do so, which are listed below:

If the payment was a paper check:

  • Write “Void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  • Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
  • Don’t staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
    Include a note stating the reason for returning the check.

If you live Utah, the mailing address is:
Fresno Refund Inquiry Unit
5045 E Butler Avenue
Mail Stop B2007
Fresno, CA 93888

If the payment was a paper check and you have cashed it, or if the payment was a direct deposit:

  • Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location.
  • Write on the check/money order made payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write 2020EIP and the taxpayer identification number (social security number, or individual taxpayer identification number) of the recipient of the check.
  • Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.

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