DENVER (CBS4) – While many Coloradans are still waiting to get their coronavirus stimulus checks from the Internal Revenue Service, CBS4 has found some dead people have been given that stimulus money in error. On Saturday, Lee Ann Van Loucks got a stimulus check from the IRS made out to her mother Mary Strubel. The problem is her mom died two years ago.
“I thought wow, this is just crazy,” Van Loucks told CBS4. “She was a hat lady, and I said, ‘unless there is a hat shop in heaven, I just don’t see her spending it.'”
Van Loucks said she was the executor of her mother’s estate before she died of Alzheimer’s disease, so she wasn’t surprised the check was sent to her address. However, she was surprised to see the check came with DECD — the short-form of “deceased” — printed next to her mother’s name.
“I thought, hmm, nobody noticed that?” she said.
Just a few weeks after her mother died, Van Loucks said her Social Security payments stopped, so she was surprised to see the IRS hadn’t caught on, even two years later.
Van Loucks isn’t alone. Across the country there have been stories shared about this same issue. Last week, a man’s dead mother in Minnesota also got a stimulus payment.
“I really do want to do the right thing with these funds,” said Bob Jacobson about his deceased mother’s check. “I know that people are hurting.”
On Thursday a group of senators sent a letter to the IRS demanding answers about the errors. Van Loucks also wants answers.
“I think it’s a huge waste, and I’m just kind of sickened by it, especially during a time like this,” Van Loucks said. “How many people need these checks and aren’t getting them, and how often is this happening, and how widespread is this issue, and what is this costing us?”
It remains unclear just how many dead taxpayers nationwide have received stimulus checks. However, the IRS says any checks made out to a deceased person must be returned. Click here for information on how to return a payment.
Van Loucks said she has already returned her mother’s check.
A spokesperson for the IRS told CBS4 they aren’t sure how many deceased people have received the stimulus checks, nor do they know what led to error.
The spokesperson said the agency has been working hard to get checks to every deserving taxpayer as quickly as possible, and has issued about 130 million checks so far, with a low error rate.