Those mourning the deaths of loved ones who received COVID-19 cheques were criticized for not quickly informing the government of the losses.

Blacklock’s Reporter says more than $9 million in pandemic relief cash was paid to dead people – money deposited into the accounts after they passed away.

And the feds blame the families of the dead for not telling them soon enough about their loss.

“The (Employment) department will undertake a post payment review to determine whether there are any overpayments,” Cabinet wrote in an Inquiry Of Ministry, tabled in the Commons.

Staff explained the payments totaling $9,208,500 were made automatically to beneficiaries of Disability Tax Credits.

Parliament last July 27 passed Bill C-20 to pay $600 to some 1.7 million Canadians including disabled veterans, recipients of Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, and tax filers who qualified for disability credits.

The Inquiry said it was the fault of pensioners’ families for failing to promptly notify the department their loved ones had passed away.

“In some cases information for persons with disabilities may not have been up to date because the government did not receive the individual’s updated personal information,” wrote staff.

The department said it would have been too time-consuming to check whether recipients of COVID-19 relief payments were alive.

Feds pay $9 million in COVID cash to dead people

“In order for the payment to reach as many recipients as possible, all implicated programs conducted a detailed review and careful analysis of their data to confirm eligibility for the one-time payment including how to address payments following the death of a beneficiary,” said the Inquiry.

“Much like the need for clients to update their personal information with each department for their specific programs, death-related information would also need to be updated by relatives or the estate.”

Parliament passed a private Liberal bill in 2015 to ease paperwork for pensioners’ families in reporting the death of a beneficiary. but it was never enacted.

Bill C-247 required the Department of Employment to register deaths using Social Insurance Numbers and share the information with other departments and agencies without requiring that families make multiple calls.

“You can imagine the merry-go-round when someone has to register the death of a loved one,” then-Sen. Jacques Demers (Que.) said in final debate on the bill.

“Families members or representatives of the estate will no longer have to travel all over the place.”

“For some who have gone through this, it’s extremely difficult. This bill will help people to mourn and take care of the next of kin. This will help.”

Then-Liberal MP Frank Valeriote (Guelph, Ont.), sponsor of the bill, said he knew of families who had to pay estate lawyers to contact the Department of Employment, Department of Veterans Affairs and Canada Revenue Agency to wind up benefit payments.

“Grieving people have no inkling who they should call or write at a time of death,” said Valeriote.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief

Dave Naylor is News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Calgary Headquarters. He served as City Editor of the Calgary Sun & covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years.

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