Stimulus Checks On Their Way - to Dead People

Friday, 15 May 2009 10:51 AM

By Dan Weil

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Millions of people are getting a Social Security check in the mail this week. But there’s a slight problem: Thousands of them are dead.

Part of the $787 billion stimulus package Congress passed included a $250 payment to Social Security recipients who aren’t working.

The idea was to put these people on equal footing to workers who are getting a tax break through the stimulus legislation.

Antoniette Santopadre of Valley Stream, N.Y., expected to receive her $250 stimulus check. But when it arrived, her son discovered that it was made out to her father, Romolo Romonini.

He was a U.S. citizen when he left for Italy in 1933 but returned to this country only for a seven-month visit in 1969, dying in Italy in 1975.

“That blows my mind, absolutely blows mind,” Santopadre told Fox 5 New York.

Her son Ronald was a bit surprised too. “It’s unbelievable how somebody who was never part of the system, that left this country before Social Security, that the only time we’ve ever received anything, the one time is this stimulus check.”

Others are in the same boat — about 8,000-10,000, the Social Security Administration says.

The agency mailed 52 million checks in total and says some of them went to the dead because the feds had no record of their deaths.

Social Security officials blame a rushed schedule, because all the checks have to be cut by June.

Bridgett Warner of the Heritage Foundation points out that the error may be a sign of more troubles to come.

“Given that the ‘stimulus’ money is being rushed out the door, one can only imagine how much waste and fraud will occur,” she writes on the Center for Fiscal Accountability’s Web site.

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