The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has so far distributed about 120 million economic impact payments to taxpayers in less than 30 days. The agency anticipates sending more than 150 million payments as part of a massive coronavirus rescue package, the CARES act.
Millions of Americans have already received in their bank accounts the payment of $1,200 from the US government – or $2,400, in the case of married couples. However, there is still a large part of the population that cannot share in that relief, and who eagerly await the desired deposit. Here are some steps to find out what might be keeping you from receiving your check:
Check if you are eligible
The first step towards verifying eligibility is making sure you have the right filing status required. As of right now, only the people who filed taxes for 2018 and 2019, with a Social Security Number (SSN), and meet the income requirements, will be eligible for the government help. Those who filed taxes for 2018 and or 2019 will receive the payments automatically (if you still haven’t filed this year’s taxes, don’t worry, there is still time).
If you file your taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) number, you will not receive a check from the government. A roadblock in receiving the stimulus check might be your spouse’s immigration status. If you are a U.S. citizen or resident but your spouse still files their taxes with an ITIN, neither of you will receive the help. Those married to undocumented individuals or who use a ITIN number also won’t receive a stimulus relief check.
Additionally, if you are in the process of a migratory status transition and still don’t have a SSN, you will most likely not receive any help since the USCIS offices are experiencing great delays.
Nevertheless, there have been various initiatives to reverse many of these roadblocks.
Specifically, the citizen children of undocumented parents are coming together to sue the Trump administration for denying them the coronavirus economic relief. Another lawsuit against the White House challenges the denial of stimulus checks for those married to non citizens.
There are a few exceptions for people who don’t usually file their taxes, including eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security retirement, survivor, or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) will receive a payment.
Additionally, if you were claimed as a dependant for both tax returns, then you will not receive a check. However, if you were a dependent last year but are not one now, it is important you file your 2019 return as soon as possible in order to receive the money.
Individuals who earn $75,000 a year will get the full check, while people who earn up to $99,000 annually, will receive a smaller amount, which will be calculated by deducting $5 for every $100 they earn above that $75,000. Married couples will receive $2,400 if their combined annual wages do not exceed $150,000. With couples earning up to $198,000, a scenario similar to the one mentioned above will occur, as they will receive a check for a smaller amount.
If someone is a “head of household,” such as a single mother or father, they will receive the $1,200 check if they earn up to $112,500 annually. Those who earn up to $136,500 annually and are the head of the household will receive a check for a smaller amount in addition to the $500 per child.
I am qualified. Why don’t I have my check?
There is no form to fill out or any action you have to take to receive your check. For those who qualify, the IRS will automatically send them either a physical check or a direct deposit, depending on what they have on record from previous years. However, problems can arise if the IRS doesn’t have the correct information.
There are taxpayers who did declare their taxes in 2018 or 2019, but might not have wanted to indicate a bank account number, because they did not expect to get a refund. Although they are eligible to receive the aid, the administration does not have their bank information, so their stimulus money will probably take a little longer to arrive since it will do so by mail.
There are also workers who do not wish to provide their bank information for privacy reasons, but fear that the check will not reach them because they recently moved. If you find yourself in this situation, you can fill out form 8822, which allows you to update the postal address.
Ever since the CARES Act launched, it has encountered many problems. One of them is sending aid to thousands of dead people, and then asking the family members to return it. So it is no surprise that the problems have caused some delays in the deliveries.
According to The Washington Post, millions of people who filed their taxes via third party services like H&R Block or TurboTax, have been unable to get their payments because the IRS did not have their direct deposit information on file.The IRS said they are aware of these problems and are working to fix them.
Check Status of Check
If none of the mishaps mentioned above apply to you, the next step is to just be patient and wait. Thankfully, the IRS made a tool available to those interested in which they can verify the date on which their payment was scheduled and what state it is in. In order to do so, you must click here and follow the instructions.
In addition, some organizations, like Economic Security for Illinois, have created tools meant to help people get their checks. One of those is their Get My Payment Illinois, which helps people both track and do the necessary steps to receive their aid.
A Note on Small Businesses
If you are a small business owner and you still haven’t received your Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), also part of the CARES Act, you are not alone. A lot of owners are still in the dark on when they will get the money and some don’t even know if they have been approved yet.
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the PPP, specifically because there have been reports of big businesses with past debts being given bailout money (the program is primarily intended for small businesses) and the fact that the Senate excluded most businesses run by people of color.