The Sad Side of the Stimulus: 89,000 Checks Sent to Dead or Imprisoned Individuals

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The 2008 economic stimulus checks are printed at the Kansas City Regional Financial Center.


It’s not every day that a mistaken piece of mail comes courtesy of the government’s massive economic recovery plan.

Take a gander at last week’s viewpoint by TIME’s Michael Grunwald, and it is official. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was not a waste of money in several respects, running like clockwork by staying within its budgetary restraints and suppressing fears of fraud.

Yet there are some exceptions, which were revealed late Thursday. The Wall Street Journal reports that approximately 89,000 stimulus checks were sent to people either deceased or in prison. Those miscues were apparently sent out in $250 increments by the Social Security Administration, resulting in $22.3 million of government money floating in misplaced destinations.

NewsFeed breathed a sigh of relief with word from the Journal that almost half the checks (41,000) had been returned. And then, we shed a tear when learning from AOL Daily Finance that some of the mistake-laden money was sent to Americans who would have been 136 years old today. Only computers could believe this strongly in immortality.