An inspector general’s report reveals that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) handed out as much as $64 million in stimulus funding to dead people after Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law.
Just The News reports that the massive oversight was due to a computer error that the IRS was aware of but did not fix at the time. Ultimately, nearly 45,000 total payments were sent to Americans with deceased dependents who died before January 1st, 2021.
The treasury inspector general released the report last week, revealing that “we alerted the IRS to this programming error in April 2021,” and “IRS management agreed that these payments were issued erroneously.
“However,” the report continued, “IRS management did not provide their corrective action to address future erroneous payments.” Even after being alerted to the problem, the IRS proceeded to hand out another 400 incorrect payments to dead people. This led to a final total of just over $100 million in incorrectly-issued stimulus checks up to September 2021.
Overall, the inspector general estimated that over $1.9 billion was paid to more than one million ineligible people. In addition to the deceased, payments were also sent to “potential ineligible nonresidents,” with over 300,000 such individuals collectively receiving over $500 million.
Once the agency finally became aware of the widespread computer errors, it began implementing “programming changes” to address the problem.
Prior pandemic payments also saw widespread erroneous distributions, according to prior watchdog reports. In July 2020, over 4.4 million ineligible people received a collective total of $5.5 billion. Of that total, approximately $3.5 billion was handed out to nearly 2.2 million dead people. An additional $440 million was sent to over 320,000 nonresidents.