Deceased people are not eligible for the $1,200 stimulus check being sent out to Americans in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Treasury Department has made it clear that the checks, which were mistakenly sent to the deceased, need to be returned, according to Politico.
A spokesperson for the Treasury revealed they are in the process of developing a plan to retrieve the payments, which were directly deposited or mailed to Americans who have passed away.
“You’re not supposed to keep the payment,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said while speaking with The Wall Street Journal Tuesday.
He clarified that “heirs should be returning that money.”
No word on how heirs should or could return the payments made to deceased family members.
The IRS has been basing stimulus check payments on 2018 and 2019 tax returns and seemingly forgot to check death records before issuing a handful of checks to the deceased.
However, experts told the publication they aren’t surprised this slipped through the cracks. The agency has been under immense pressure to push checks quickly to lighten the economic burden of coronavirus on Americans.
For this reason, they’ve been using the 2018 tax returns if a 2019 one hasn’t been filed yet, meaning there’s a high probability that some of the taxpayers have passed away in the year since filing. The IRS also doesn’t have access to real-time information on who has died.
Mnuchin said the department is checking databases to locate where the payments were deposited.
President Trump assured that they will get the checks back, adding, “sometimes you send a check to somebody wrong.”