The federal government admits it's sent stimulus payments to more than 80 million people so far, but some of 'em will never get the dough ... 'cause they're dead.
As the IRS rushes to distribute cash to roughly 150 million Americans, the first wave of deposits went directly into bank accounts of folks who filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and got a refund.
Pretty streamlined process, in theory, but the problem is ... some of those people have died since then -- and the government didn't know -- so they still got the money.
Reports of the dead getting paid started coming out last weekend, mostly from surviving spouses or those with bank accounts still open to settle the estates of family members who have passed.
Though these people may have reported the deaths, and the IRS is supposed to check death records before approving payments ... there are apparently gaps in the process and delays in reporting to the Treasury Dept.
As for whether these dead folks can keep the money -- there's some mixed messaging. President Trump said Friday, "Sometimes you send a check to somebody wrong ... We’ll get that back."
Some legal experts think otherwise, though, and an IRS spokesperson added ... "We are aware of all the various issues involving surviving spouses and other heirs and are still working on them."
Meanwhile ... thousands, if not millions, of people who truly need the money -- from disabled veterans to Social Security retirees to families living below the poverty line -- are still waiting to be paid.
The Treasury is reportedly working with other agencies to dish out more automatic payments and get checks in the mail, but obviously ... it ain't easy.