What Happens to a Pandemic Stimulus Payment Upon Death?Client Alert
On January 1, 2021, the federal government issued stimulus payments (also known as Economic Impact Payments) to American citizens – on paper. However, many of the stimulus payments were not received until several months later. In some instances, the stimulus payments did not arrive until after an individual died.
If your loved one died in 2021, then you may be wondering what to do with the stimulus check they received. If the individual was alive on January 1, 2021, for any amount of time, then the stimulus check does not need to be returned nor the amount prorated back to the government. The check may be deposited in the individual’s account or estate account if assets are moving through probate. This applies to all three stimulus checks issued by the federal government since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congress foresaw this issue when passing the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Act”). Specifically, the Act created a new section of the Internal Revenue Code, which states that, as long as an individual was alive on January 1, 2021, he or she is entitled to the stimulus check even if he or she dies in 2021.