KENNESAW, Ga. — “Where’s my stimulus check?”
It’s a question we get every day from our viewers who are worried, anxious, and needing the money, right away.
One of those checks, delivered to a Kennesaw home -- and reportedly thousands more that were delivered across the country and overseas -- were made out to non-U.S. citizens.
And the IRS tells 11Alive News it is trying to straighten it all out. But no one was more surprised than Beth McGuire, who lives at that Kennesaw home.
“I went out and got the mail this morning,” McGuire said.
And she said after her surprise, she was outraged.
“It was a check, a stimulus check, made out to her," she said, referring to her former tenant.
The stimulus check was for $1,200.
“Somehow that didn’t seem quite right to me,” McGuire said.
The stimulus check was made out to a German citizen who had rented a room from McGuire while working in Kennesaw for 10 months from July 2018 to May 2019. McGuire immediately called the woman, who has since returned to her home in Munich, Germany.
Her name is Ines Arfaoui. Arfaoui moved back to Munich a year ago when her visa expired. McGuire said Arfaoui was surprised, too.
11Alive News called Arfaoui, who said she has no idea why she would have received a stimulus check. And, she said, even if it turns out she was eligible to receive one, possibly based on her status at the time and the U.S. taxes she paid, she doesn’t want it.
“I didn’t really know why I would receive one, as I’m not a U.S. citizen,” Arfaoui said. “It doesn’t really make sense. People who should not be receiving checks are receiving checks, because I’m pretty sure the money is needed elsewhere, for people who actually need it and who should receive it.”
According to Politico.com on Friday, the IRS mistakenly sent stimulus checks to thousands of foreign workers who are not eligible.
An IRS spokesman would not comment, other than to tell 11Alive that the agency will come up with a way to straighten out the mix-ups, and then post the info on its website, so Beth McGuire will know what the IRS will want her to do with the stimulus check that the recipient doesn’t want.
McGuire said she is frustrated knowing she can’t cash it for someone else. And Arfaoui knows that she can’t cash it herself to donate the money to someone, unless she can, first, somehow verify that she was, in fact, eligible to receive the check.
McGuire said she is thinking of who could use the money, now, such as “people in my neighborhood who could use just a little boost, that $1,200. It could be food on their tables.”
The IRS is not saying, yet, whether it will be able to track down all non-U.S. citizens who received a stimulus check despite being ineligible.
As it is, the Treasury Department said nearly 99 million Americans have received stimulus checks, so far, totaling $160 Billion.