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New Report Shows 17,000 Inmates Received Stimulus Checks

New Report Shows 17,000 Inmates Received Stimulus Checks

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October 08, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – The Social Security Administration sent $250 stimulus checks to nearly 72,000 beneficiaries who were dead, but more than half the payments have been returned, the agency’s inspector general has found. More than 17,000 inmates also received money — but they were entitled to it under the 2009 measure Congress passed.

In all, the agency disbursed $13 billion in economic-recovery payments to 52 million people who receive either Social Security or Supplemental Security Income. The agency said 99.8% of payments were accurate.

The combined total of the erroneous payments — most made by electronic transfers to bank accounts — is $22.3 million. So far, about $12 million hasn’t been returned. But the agency says lawmakers didn’t include a provision for it to recover funds sent mistakenly. As the Wall Street Journal points out, money may be just sitting in accounts of the dead.

As for inmates, who received a total of $4.3 million, Congress only prohibited payments to people who went to jail in the three months before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed — from November 2008 through January 2009.

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