Knowing that many Americans who need help have not received their stimulus checks, the Biden Administration leaped into action — and sent them to tens of thousands Japanese citizens.
Japanese citizens are confused after a flood of relief checks reached their homes. In its haste to send out stimulus checks, it seems that the Biden administration forgot to ensure that the correct people were receiving them and accidentally sent stimmies to Japanese citizens who had worked in the United State prior to 2005. Nikkei reports:
As the Treasury rushed to get the checks out in the mail under Biden’s coronavirus economic response, many ineligible foreigners around the world appear to have received the checks, including Japanese pensioners who lived in the U.S. before 2005.
A 66-year-old man who worked in the U.S. around 1990 found the check in his mail box during the Golden Week holiday this month.
“Because there was no explanation enclosed, I wondered whether it was real,” said the retiree.
He contacted his bank to see if he can cash it. “But it seems I don’t qualify, so I decided not to do anything,” he added.
Only U.S. citizens or foreign residents living in the country this year qualify to receive the relief payments.
Mr. Ichikawa , a representative of the Overseas Pension Consultation Center, says there is no excuse for this slipup. “Most of those who live in Japan and receive American pensions are not eligible. They are not US citizens, do not hold a visa for America, and are not Green Card holders,” he says. “There are about 70,000 people who have been stationed in the United States and, as a result, have returned to Japan to receive an American pension, including their spouses. Somehow the stimulus checks have been delivered all at once to those whose pension amount is below a certain level.”
The IRS is now scrambling to fix Biden’s mistake, asking people who have wrongly received checks to write “VOID” on the back and send them (at recipients’ own expense) to the IRS office in Austin, Texas. People in over 99 other countries — including more than 20,000 in Germany and Great Britain — also received checks in error.
The Biden Administration’s mistake is irritating Japanese banks. “Inquiries began to increase gradually some two months ago and our call center and branch operations are being disrupted,” a bank official says, though many banks refuse to cash checks issued outside Japan to prevent money laundering.
The Biden administration has once again embarrassed America — and while the IRS hasn’t been clear on what (if any) penalties will be imposed on those who were sent checks and cashed them because they thought they are eligible, we’re sure this will develop into an international incident.