The federal stimulus checks received by millions of Americans Wednesday to help ease the economic windfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic were also sent to unexpected recipients — dead people.

Numerous Americans took to social media to share tales of the misdirected dough delivered as part of the $2.2 trillion bailout package passed by Congress last month, including Republican Congressman Thomas Massie.

The Kentucky lawmaker tweeted an image of a text from a friend whose deceased father received a $1,200 check. The father died in 2018.

“Ok this is insane, but just the tip of the iceberg,” Massie wrote. “This is a direct text to me from a friend. I called to confirm this actually just happened.”

Scott Salaske, a financial adviser, said in a tweet that his acquaintance received an extra $1,200 in stimulus money for his deceased spouse, who also died in 2018.

Banks on Fordham Road were very busy as bankers were looking for their stimulus check in their account in The Bronx today.
Banks on Fordham Road were very busy as bankers were looking for their stimulus check in their account in the Bronx today.Richard Harbus

Another twitter user, Scott Gustin, noted that $1,200 was deposited into the bank account of his grandmother who passed away in 2018.

But government money given to dead people is nothing new, Malcolm Sparrow, who served on a panel in 2010 under President Barack Obama to oversee the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, told USA Today.

“The American government paying money out to dead people, or to dead patients, or dead welfare beneficiaries is years and years old,” Sparrow told the paper.

Sparrow said outdated government data could be to blame, or in more sinister instances, people could be filing false claims with the names of dead people.

In 2009, over 70,000 dead recipients received checks sent through the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a 2010 report from the Office of the Inspector General.

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Long lines at the banks along Fordham Road in the Bronx today.

James Messerschmidt

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