Stimulus checks sent to deceased people, leaving loved ones wondering what to do

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As a second wave of IRS stimulus payments go out, the ABC7 I-Team has found that some people are checks that don't belong to them, and they say they don't know what to do with it.

"I got a check that's from the stimulus package addressed to my mother," said Jeff Beavers.

RELATED: Coronavirus stimulus check issues: Direct deposit mixups reported during first round of payments

Beavers was surprised to receive a $1,200 stimulus check for his mother Norma, because she died more than a year ago.

"It says right on there she's deceased, in care of me," he said.

More than half of Americans expecting a stimulus payment already have them. The payments are based on 2018 and 2019 tax returns. But some of those taxpayers have since died.

The I-Team has received emails from others asking what they should do with the checks they received for their deceased loved ones. None could get in touch with the IRS for answers.

RELATED: After direct deposit mix-ups, some IRS stimulus checks coming by mail

"One of my co-workers, his dad passed away in January 2019, and his mother got a check that was direct deposited in his father's name," said Beavers.

Since the first wave of stimulus money was sent out by the IRS, the I-Team has been flooded with complaints from viewers that their checks were sent to the wrong bank, that the amount of the check was wrong. And many are still waiting to find out when, and if, they will be getting stimulus money.
The I-Team contacted the U.S. Treasury Department who said, "We are actively working on this and will issue guidance shortly. The IRS and Treasury have executed an extraordinary task by delivering more than 120 million Economic Impact Payments to Americans in less than 30 days."

But on Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Wall Street Journal that the money must be returned.

Beavers said he's mailing his back right away.

For those who received money that doesn't belong to them through direct deposit, there are no guidelines yet as to how they should return the money.

Paper checks can be mailed back to the IRS.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.