The Rebound Indiana: Beech Grove man gets stimulus check for deceased mom

Posted at 5:30 AM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 07:52:45-04

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INDIANAPOLIS — While many people in central Indiana wait for their stimulus payments, some are getting checks that don’t even belong to them.

J. Tilden, of Beech Grove, already got his stimulus check via direct deposit, so he was surprised when he got a $1,200 paper check in the mail for his mother, Lillian.

Tilden showed us Lillian’s death certificate, which shows she died on Jan. 12, 2018 at the age of 73.

"So I was surprised and immediately thought about how this was potentially something that was fraud," Tilden said. "I just thought this is crazy. I can't believe I am getting a check for this particular situation when she's been dead and gone for two years."

Tilden is not alone.

"I posted it to Facebook and actually had several people tell me that they knew others who had been in the same situations,” Tilden said. “So I'm thinking this is a problem not a one-off situation."

Tilden contacted Call 6 Investigates and asked us to look into it.

The IRS has not responded to questions asking why this problem is happening, but did some checking and found the IRS just issued new guidance on this May 6.

Anyone who gets a check for someone who died should return the check to the IRS, and write “void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.

“Payment made to someone who died before receipt of the Payment should be returned to the IRS by following the instructions in the Q&A about repayments,” read the IRS website. “Return the entire Payment unless the Payment was made to joint filers and one spouse had not died before receipt of the Payment, in which case, you only need to return the portion of the Payment made on account of the decedent. This amount will be $1,200 unless adjusted gross income exceeded $150,000.”

Here's the mailing address to send back a check if you live in Indiana:

Kansas City Refund Inquiry Unit
333 W Pershing Rd
Mail Stop 6800, N-2
Kansas City, MO 64108

Tilden just wants others to be aware this can happen.

"Thanks for doing the story because I think it's important that people need to know what to do with the checks,” Tilden said. “It's not something they should be taking advantage of."

The IRS says if the payment was a paper check:

  • Write "Void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  • Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location.
  • Don't staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
  • Include a note stating the reason for returning the check.

The IRS says of the payment was a paper check and you have cashed it, or if the payment was a direct deposit:

  • Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.
  • Write on the check/money order made payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write 2020EIP, and the taxpayer identification number (social security number, or individual taxpayer identification number) of the recipient of the check.
  • Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.