Written by Luis Miguel
A new watchdog report reveals that over a million stimulus payments worth almost $1.4 billion were sent to dead people because the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service failed to look at death records as they prepared deposits and checks as part of their coronavirus relief efforts.
According to the report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which examined the administration of the government’s nearly $3 trillion stimulus package, the IRS normally uses third-party data kept by the Social Security Administration to prevent erroneous tax-refund claims.
But in the case of the stimulus checks sent out in April and May as part of the CARES Act, the Treasury and IRS “did not use the death records to stop payments to deceased individuals for the first three batches of payments because of the legal interpretation under which IRS was operating.”
IRS counsel reportedly “determined that IRS did not have the legal authority to deny payments to those who filed a return for 2019, even if they were deceased at the time of payment.” It also called for “discretion” provided for in the CARES Act to apply the same rules to households that filed a return in 2018 but not in 2019.
Treasury officials wanted to satisfy Congress’ desire to have payments made as “rapidly as possible,” which reportedly resulted in the use of policies and procedures developed for the 2008 stimulus payments. Thus, seeking to fulfill its mandate to Congress, the department “did not use the death records as a filter to halt payments to decedents in the first three batches of payments.”
The report further explains:
According to a Treasury official from the Office of Tax Policy, Treasury was unaware the payments may go to decedents. Treasury officials said that upon learning that payments had been made to decedents, Treasury and IRS, in consultation with counsel, determined that a person is not entitled to receive a payment if he or she is deceased as of the date the payment is to be paid. Such payments are potentially improper payments under the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019. BFS and IRS removed such payments starting with the fourth payment batch.
On May 6, 2020, IRS announced on its website that if a payment was issued to a decedent or incarcerated individual, the total amount should be returned…. However, IRS does not currently plan to take additional steps to notify ineligible recipients on how to return payments.
The IRS implemented a process in 2013 to use death records to update taxpayer accounts, but these controls were bypassed for the COVID-19 stimulus.
The report makes several recommendations, including having the IRS provide recipients of checks intended for deceased persons with further notification about how to return such payments.
The CARES Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump at the end of March. It provided $1,200 to adults and $500 for children as a way of alleviating some of the economic fallout of governments’ coronavirus economic restrictions, including shutting down many businesses deemed “non-essential.”
The president hinted this week that another “generous” stimulus check is in the works. “We will be doing another stimulus package, it’ll be very good, it’ll be very generous,” he said during an interview with Scripps reporter Joe St. George.
The news comes as the political establishment, including Democrats and the mainstream media, call for renewed coronavirus restrictions to contain infection rates that have risen since state governments began rolling back their lockdowns.
As the case number surpasses the peak in April, even conservative states such as Texas are backtracking in their reopenings. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, said Thursday that he would pause the reopening of businesses and other institutions.
Much attention has been placed on Florida, which, with Republican Governor Ron DeSantis at the helm, has been seen as one of the less-restrictive states. On Thursday, Florida reported more than 5,000 new cases for the second day in a row.
Yet the media ignores that part of the reason for rising cases is the growing amount of testing. Additionally, with a 97.4-percent survivability rate, a rise in cases does not necessarily mean that people are in serious condition. It is common knowledge that most people infected with COVID-19 will experience only mild flu-like symptoms, or have no symptoms at all.
In Jacksonville, Florida, for example, Mayor Lenny Curry noted that while cases are up, hospitalizations remain low, with only 14 people in ICU units at local hospitals.
Not surprisingly, while the media wants to blame President Trump’s recent Tulsa rally for a spike in coronavirus cases in Oklahoma, they are careful not to place any blame on the recent mass Black Lives Matter protests. A BuzzFeed article trending on Twitter boldly declares, “Cities With Black Lives Matter Protests Have Not Seen COVID-19 Spikes.”
Who knew that viruses could have political preferences?
Luis Miguel is a marketer and writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.
This article is republished with permission from our friends at The New American
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