Why the U.S. government is sending checks to dead people

The agency is under pressure to push the money out as quickly as possible — even as the coronavirus is simultaneously killing tens of thousands of people.

The IRS is supposed to check death records before okaying the payments, but the government does not have real-time information on who dies. That data percolates up from the states, and there is invariably a lag in reporting.

“There are gaps in the process,” said Jack Smalligan, a former top official at the White House budget office. “It’s inevitable.”

Some legal experts even say the dead are actually eligible for the payments.