AUDIT: DECEASED PEOPLE RECEIVED $1.4B IN VIRUS RELIEF FUNDS

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 1.1 million coronavirus relief payments totaling some $1.4 billion went to dead people, a government watchdog reported Thursday. Legal and political issues hang over the misdirected taxpayer funds, the latest example of errors in massive aid being dispensed at crisis speed.

As of May 31, about 160 million so-called economic impact payments totaling $269 billion were sent to taxpayers as part of the $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted in March. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, cited the number of erroneous payments to deceased taxpayers in its report on the government programs.

While the government has asked survivors to return the money, it’s not clear they have to.

It also may be a politically sensitive gambit for the Treasury Department to aggressively seek to claw back the money, especially because some recipients may have died in the early months of this year from COVID-19.

When billions in aid are rushed out the door in a crisis, “these are the kinds of things that happen,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of advocacy group Public Citizen. FULL STORY HERE