Congressman Anthony Brindisi is urging federal agencies to perform an audit of stimulus funds, after receiving several complaints from people who say they did not receive their $1,200 via debit card, and may have thrown them away because it was not clear the mail was from the government.
Brindisi says some people accidentally tossed their stimulus debit cards because the envelopes were not clearly marked, or contained misspellings or incorrect names, leading them to believe it was junk mail.
“I’ve heard from countless constituents who have received prepaid debit cards that look like they were made at a scam department, not the Treasury Department,” said Brindisi. “With things like misspellings, wrong names, and a non-governmental return address, struggling families are left to wonder if these cards are just another scam or the relief they desperately need. The Treasury Department and I.R.S. need to do better and I am demanding they fix this.”
Brindisi wrote a letter to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, asking for the following:
- Waive any and all replacement fees for individuals who may have lost their debit cards, including Americans who may have discarded their debit card after mistaking it for junk mail.
- Review IRS data in the coming weeks and identify individuals who were sent a debit card but never activated it, and appropriately follow up with those households to ensure they receive the economic impact payment they are due. Clearly identify on the outside of the envelope any subsequent mailed economic impact payments as being sent by or on behalf of the federal government.
- Review the process that resulted in incorrect names being printed on envelopes and cards and correct this problem for any future mailings.
- Abide by Congressional intent and ensure that users receive their full economic impact payment by waiving all fees for withdrawals at all ATMs.
- Oversee the creation of a free and easy method for individuals to transfer the full balance of their debit card to their checking account without the use of the internet.
- Work with the CFPB and any other relevant agency to conduct a public awareness campaign regarding potential scams related to these debit cards.
“Removing replacement and transaction fees, better identification of the envelopes and an overall review of the process that created this mess are a good place to start,” said Brindisi. “During the pandemic, so many families need help and these payments were designed to provide much-needed relief. Instead, due to bureaucratic incompetence, families are not getting the help they need.”
Anyone who has not yet received a stimulus payment can reach out to Brindisi's Utica office at 315-732-0713.
I’ve heard from constituents who’ve thrown away their stimulus payment cards because of:
❌a non-governmental return address
We need to do everything we can to get families the help they need. I'm demanding that the IRS & Treasury Dept. do better. pic.twitter.com/KV2rKxwJWj
— Rep. Anthony Brindisi (@RepBrindisi) June 15, 2020