Letter to the editor: Feds sent stimulus check to deceased person

Has your Economic Impact Payment arrived? 

My wife’s and my coronavirus stimulus checks have not arrived, but my mother did receive in the mail one of the roughly 150 million that have been issued. We are OK that we have not yet seen a stimulus check. We never expected a $1,200 government check as payment for social distancing and dealing with the complications it has caused everyone in our community and country. If it really helps the economy and serves those who really need it, then perhaps this deficit money spending may prove to be a necessary ingredient to keep us from another 2008 Great Recession, or even a 1930s-type Great Depression.  

Regardless, we are not happy that my mother got a check and that it could be spent. The check is legitimate, addressed to her, and signed by U.S. Bureau of Fiscal Management Service employee Vona S. Robinson with the following notation: “Economic Impact Payment, President Donald J. Trump.” A few weeks after her $1,200 check arrived, she got a follow-up mailing from the White House, Washington, signed by Donald J. Trump announcing that “Your Economic Impact Payment has arrived.” Her check and her letter both have Decd after her name, something obviously in the Government database that should have been a clue not to send her the money or the letter. You see, she passed away on Aug. 30, 2018. 

After realizing they had sent checks that should not have been issued to deceased persons and others, the IRS issued a general “guidance” saying the money should be returned. That would seem reasonable to most of us. However, some tax experts aren’t so sure the money should be returned, noting that the IRS made little effort to retrieve similar “ineligible” payments during the Great Recession and there may be no consequences this time for depositing and spending the money. 

It seems to us, and we hope you agree, that our country has more to worry about than COVID-19 and another depression if it is okay to keep and spend money erroneously sent to a deceased relative. 

Charles Billings

Ripton

 

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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