IRS, apparently aware, distributes stimulus checks for deceased people: 'Why did they send this?'

MILWAUKEE -- Millions of stimulus checks have been sent out to people who filed federal taxes in 2018 or 2019. Several of those people have since died, and it appears the IRS already knew that.

Dan Killips

Dan Killips doesn't need a reminder to think of his son, Jason, who was fatally stabbed in November 2018 -- but he got one on Monday.

"I break down every day, every day I break down," Dan Killips said.

Killips received a federal stimulus check for $1,200 made out to Jason. The IRS knows he is dead; right next to his name, the letters "DECD" -- for "deceased" -- were printed.

"So why did they send this check," Killips said. "How many more people are receiving these checks that have passed away?"

Killips hasn't gotten his own stimulus payment yet. Neither had Ron Hurab, but he did get one for his brother.

Ron Hurab

"It made me, unfortunately, think of him and think, boy, it's this week, he'll have been gone one year," Hurab said.

His brother, Alab Hurab, died May 7, 2019.

Hurab brought his brother's check to the post office in Delafield and mailed it back to the IRS, which the government said people in his situation should do.

"How many of these checks are out there floating," said Hurab. "I'm just wondering how many are getting forgot and cashed, and who knows what happens to them."

As of last week, the IRS had sent out 130 million stimulus checks, but it's unclear how many were sent to people who are deceased. Neither the U.S. Treasury nor the IRS answered that questions when emailed by Contact 6.

Reports of the issue are coming in from across the country. Tuesday, the IRS added instructions for sending back the payments to its "Frequently Asked Questions" page where it said to:

"Return the entire Payment unless the Payment was made to joint filers which case, you only need to return the portion of the Payment."

Envelopes in which the stimulus checks arrive have a checkbox on the front and a warning: "If recipient is deceased, check here and drop in mailbox."

"It doesn't say when to send it back," said Killips.

Though the envelope does not have a date for returning payments, as Killips pointed out, the IRS website says to do so immediately.

Anyone who received a payment for a deceased person by direct deposit must mail a personal check back to the IRS. Mailing addresses are listed on