Dead Woman Gets Stimulus Check

Government blames deadline for error

You know government spending is out of control when Washington is sending stimulus checks to people who have been dead for four decades.

An 83-year-old Baltimore-area man just got a $250 check in the mail -- addressed to his mother, who died in 1967.

"It shocked me and I laughed all at the same time," James Hagner told WBALT TV. "I don't even expect to get one for myself, and I get one for my mother from 43 years ago?"

Social Security officials conceded that of the 52 million checks sent out, about 10,000 went to people who are no longer with us. The agency blames the mistakes on a tight, June deadline for getting the checks out, leaving little time for records checking.

It's a federal offense to cash the checks if they're made out to someone else, and the government is asking anyone who mistakenly gets one to return it. But Hagner doesn't want to give his mother's check back -- he wants to frame it.

"I just want to keep it as a souvenir," he said. "I'll never cash it."

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