Did the US government mistakenly send COVID-19 relief payments to noncitizens living abroad?

Tuesday, May 11, 2021
By Jacob Alabab-Moser

The Internal Revenue Service mistakenly delivered some coronavirus relief payments to some ineligible noncitizens living overseas.

A Treasury review noted that as of May 2020, the IRS had issued almost 28,000 relief payments totaling $34 million to people who filed taxes from a foreign address. The report details a variety of other errors in determining eligibility for the payments, including payments to noncitizens residing in the U.S. who did not meet the requirements relating to previous tax payments. It notes that the IRS asks recipients of any unintended payments to return them voluntarily.

In November, the IRS acknowledged its responsibility for some erroneous payments made to noncitizens living abroad. Some noncitizens received the payments because the agency already paid them regular Social Security payments arising from their previous work in the U.S.

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