Atlanta man gets stimulus check for deceased mother

Ross Perloe received a stimulus check for his late mother, Betty Perloe, who died in 2018. Photo provided by family.

Ross Perloe received a stimulus check for his late mother, Betty Perloe, who died in 2018. Photo provided by family.

Ross Perloe knew the government was sending out millions of stimulus payments to support Americans during the pandemic.

But when the Atlanta man opened his mailbox, he was shocked to see a U.S. Treasury check for $1,200 made out to his mother, Betty Perloe. She had died in 2018.

“It doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Ross Perloe said he found the mistake even more surprising since the government apparently knew his mother was dead. The check was made out to “BETTY PERLOE DECD.” He assumes the “DECD” stands for deceased.

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Perloe isn't the first to be stunned by a check for a family member who has passed away. Others across the nation have reported the same surprising payouts, even as other Americans desperate for money are still awaiting checks.

Atlanta resident April Bogle said a letter to her late mother, Fern Bogle, came this week announcing, “Your economic impact payment has arrived.” Signed by President Trump, the letter said a payment of $1,200 was made by direct deposit.

April Bogle said her mom died in 2018 and all her bank accounts have been closed. As far as she knows, the payment bounced back or went into some kind of financial black hole.

Betty Perloe died in 2018 at age 92, but the U.S. Treasury recently sent her a $1,200 stimulus check. Photo provided by family.

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“Other people really, really need this money right now and I hope it’s redirected into the right hands,” she said.

Perloe also said the money needs to get to those in need. “There are people who are really hurting and deserve it,” he said.

Trump acknowledged the problem in a press briefing in April. “Sometimes you send a check to somebody wrong,” he said. “Sometimes people are listed, they die, and they get a check. That can happen.”

The president said the government would get the money back. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told The Wall Street Journal this week relatives aren’t supposed to keep the payments.

Perloe said he contacted both of Georgia’s U.S. Senators to try to find out what to do with the check, but said he hasn’t gotten information yet. So far, there’s no official government guidance on how to handle the situation.

“It’s sad,” Perloe said.

The stimulus payments are being made through the federal CARES Act, which provides payments to American households of up to $1,200 per adult for individuals whose income was less than $99,000 (or $198,000 for joint filers) and $500 per child under 17 years old – or up to $3,400 for a family of four, according to the Treasury Department. The checks are based on federal income tax returns from 2018 or 2019.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote about Betty Perloe last year in an investigation of Georgia's senior care homes. A retired nurse, Perloe died at 92 after she was bitten all over her body by ants that weren't controlled by the assisted living facility in Sandy Springs where she was living.