The stimulus not only seeing dead people, but sending them checks

You might expect a few mistakes -- and a little fraud -- to crop up in the 52 million stimulus checks that the government has sent out. But a new report from Fox News may have people gasping: Millions of dollars in stimulus checks may have been sent out to between 8,000 and 10,000 dead people.

The Social Security Administration says that this could have happened because they had no record of these people's deaths, but even more curious, Fox News said that at least one of them never even collected Social Security benefits.

That person was a U.S. citizen but left for Italy in 1933 and only returned to the U.S. for a seven-month visit in 1969. Antoniette Santopadre of Valley Stream, New York told Fox she was expecting a check but didn't get one. Instead a check was sent to her husband, Romolo Romonini who died in Italy 34 years ago.

Social Security blames a rushed schedule, but why would checks be sent to someone who never even claimed benefits? If he left for Italy in 1933 that was before Social Security was even created. The Social Security Act was first passed in 1935 and workers were registered by January 1937.

If the Fox story is true, then our Social Security record system is even more faulty than anyone could possibly imagine. Someone put names into that system without even getting proper identification. This mistake definitely needs a Congressional investigation fast.

With Social Security in so much trouble, we must be certain that we're not wasting Social Security benefits on people who shouldn't be in the system. As of this writing, I'm still waiting for a comment from the Social Security Administration.

Lita Epstein has written more than 25 books including the Complete Idiot's Guide to Social Security and Medicare.

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