If you happened to get a coronavirus stimulus check in the name of a dead relative, please note that the Treasury Department will be looking for those funds to be returned in the near future.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin clarified as much with the Wall Street Journal in an interview.
“You’re not supposed to keep that payment,” Mnuchin said of relatives and estates. “We’re checking the databases, but there could be a scenario where we missed something, and yes, the heirs should be returning that money.”
As the IRS has rushed to send out the stimulus payments to millions of Americans, there have been reports across the country of relatives getting checks for their deceased loved ones.
A Treasury spokesperson said that the department is working on a plan to get the money back, but no details have been provided, and there is no formal guidance on how relatives should return these funds, Politico notes.
The Department’s stance echoes Trump’s remarks earlier this month when he vowed, “Everything we’re going to get back.”
Earlier this month, the IRS started issuing the anticipated stimulus checks, which came from the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package.
The package allotted cash payments to Americans, giving individuals making up to 75,000 a year or heads of household making up to $112,500 a year checks of $1,200.
As Politico notes, even though the IRS is supposed to reference death records before sending out payments, it is not unusual for some cases to slip through the cracks, according to experts. There is also often some gap between when an individual dies and when the federal government is notified.