When Congress initially passed the CARES Act last March, one issue became apparent: people who died were still being mailed a $1,200 stimulus check. As Congress debates a third coronavirus relief package to the tune of $1.9 trillion, government waste experts warn the same thing will happen yet again.
"[T]he problem that caused the money to go to these people last time has not been fixed, and it's a relatively simple fix," Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste," said on "Just the News AM" radio show. "The Social Security Administration has what's called the master death file. It is not shared with the Internal Revenue Service, it is shared with other agencies, but not the one where you would really want it to be shared, which is the IRS."
According to Schatz, Congress has to pass legislation for one agency to share information with another. In this case, Congress has to grant the SSA permission to share their master death file with the IRS. As of now, that directive isn't in President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, meaning it's unlikely to happen.
"So if somebody paid taxes two years ago, or last year, and has now passed away, that check is going to show up," he explained. "And of course, there's fraud related to that as well, people keeping the names of their deceased relatives or parents or siblings and just collecting checks, and they would qualify too, unfortunately."
This isn't just a problem with the Wuhan coronavirus stimulus packages though. This is something that takes place on every level of government, mostly because various state and federal government agencies fail to communicate with one another.
In fact, Schatz said this is a repeat of what took place in 2009 when the Obama administration issued stimulus payments through the Recovery and Investment Act. Roughly 90,000 checks were sent out to people who were in prison or dead. And now we're seeing it again.