Allegheny County

Families receive stimulus checks for dead relatives

PITTSBURGH — If you received a stimulus check for a deceased relative, you’re not the only one.

“Surprised is an understatement. I was shocked,” attorney Jack Goodrich said.

Goodrich said he knows other people have also received similar checks in the mail.

“I ran into a couple of people I know that have had family members die within the last year and they had direct deposit of these checks,” Goodrich said.

So why are these checks being issued? If someone filed their 2018 or 2019 taxes and has since passed away, relatives of that person may still receive a stimulus check in his or her name.

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The National Taxpayers Union Foundation said the IRS could have taken the time to cross reference the Social Security’s master file of all deaths in the United States, but that would have delayed the checks for weeks.

Goodrich said every check made out to someone who is deceased means someone who really needs the money isn’t getting it.

“We’re have a lot of financial distress already in this country and $1,200 is a lot of money to a lot of people and what I’m worried about is who is not getting the checks that really need them,” he said.

So what should you do if you get a check made out to a dead relative? The Treasury Department said it plans to release guidelines on what people should do. To cash that check could be considered fraud.

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