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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Stimulus for dead people

Scott Jagow May 15, 2009

The government’s sending out 52 million stimulus checks to Americans on Social Security. Unfortunately, some of the people getting checks have passed away. I suppose that’s bound to happen on rare occasion… except that there are thousands of cases, and some of these people died decades ago.

From Fox News:

Recently, a Long Island, New York woman was shocked when she checked the mail and received a letter from the U.S. Treasury — but it wasn’t for her.

Antoniette Santopadre of Valley Stream was expecting a $250 stimulus check. But when her son finally opened it, they saw that the check was made out to her father, Romolo Romonini, who died in Italy 34 years ago.

Romonini was a US citizen when he left for Italy in 1933. He came back once for a seven-month visit. He was never part of the Social Security system.

Fox estimates between 8,000 and 10,000 stimulus checks went to dead people. The Social Security Administration said a rushed schedule didn’t allow the agency time to clean up its records. From 1933?

Here’s another case from Maryland of a woman who received a check even though she died on Memorial Day, 1967. Her son wants to keep it.

Hagner said he’d like to frame it and hang it on his wall.

“I just want to keep it as a souvenir, that’s all. I’ll never cash it,” Hagner said.

The administration would like to remind people that cashing someone else’s Social Security check is a federal offense.

But there doesn’t seem to be a law against the government mailing money to dead people.

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