This week, the Treasury Department started sending out coronavirus stimulus checks of up to $1,200 per person to millions of eligible Americans. On Wednesday, the first batch of recipients were supposed to see government checks arrive in their bank accounts. However, many were surprised to find that money had been put into accounts that they don’t recognize or no longer use.
Last week, then Internal Revenue Service launched a “Get My Payment” online portal for people to track their stimulus checks. Type in your social security number, along with other identification information, and the site will tell you if your money has been sent out and displays the last four digits of the bank account number where it was deposited.
“Once I pressed submit, the account number that they listed didn’t match any of mine,” Thomas Krapin, a 25-year-old New York City resident who planned to use some of the money to pay rent, told USA Today on Wednesday. “I called my bank and there was nothing they could do.”
An Observer employee encountered a similar glitch. When checking her payment status on the IRS site on Wednesday, she was told that the stimulus check was deposited into a now closed account which she used for filing last year’s tax return.
People experiencing similar incidents took to the IRS’ Twitter page to seek help. “My stimulus got sent to the wrong account and it won’t let me update it,” tweeted one user. “You sent my check to the wrong account number! I’ve had my account for years. Bank says there’s nothing they can do. Now what?” wrote another.
My stimulus got sent to the wrong account and it won’t let me update it despite you guys saying we could. I guess I’ll just get evicted
— 𝓼𝓱𝓪𝓷𝓷𝓪 𝓷𝓮𝔀𝓴𝓲𝓻𝓴 (@wanderingshanna) April 15, 2020
You sent my check to the wrong account number! I've had my account for years. Bank says there's nothing they can do. Now what? please advise. pic.twitter.com/UT8Nv5RfzZ
— Lydia Cooper (@OKIOU1) April 16, 2020
In other cases, the checks were sent to people who recently died. On Wednesday, Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie tweeted an image of a friend’s text that read, “Dad got his stimulus check of $1,200. He died in 2018. Does he have time to spend it online?” “I called to confirm this actually just happened,” Massie said.
According to the CARES Act, the $2 trillion economic rescue package passed in March, eligibility for the stimulus check is based on a person’s 2019 tax file or 2018’s if they haven’t submitted 2019 taxes. So people who passed away in the last two years might still show up in the IRS’ database as recipients of the money.
Ok this is insane, but just the tip of the iceberg. This is a direct text to me from a friend. I called to confirm this actually just happened. pic.twitter.com/GBRPcmYMXW
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) April 15, 2020
IRS spokesperson Jodie Reynolds said, if a check is sent to bank accounts that don’t match the name of the person who should receive it, the check should be rejected by the bank and returned to the IRS.
“The payment isn’t going to bounce back and just sit here,” Reynolds told USA Today. “We will turn around and cut them a paper check and make sure they get their money.”