This article was last updated on January 30
President Biden recently signed an executive order to address issues with payment of the stimulus checks (economic impact payments) to millions of Americans. While the IRS has successfully paid out over 80% of stimulus payments to millions of Americans and their child dependents, there have been many challenges for thousands of Americans who are still waiting for their stimulus payments or didn’t realize their are eligible for one. Groups that don’t file tax returns (non-filers) which include lower income earners and those getting social security or disability benefits have been hit particularly hard when it comes to getting their stimulus checks.
To ensure equitable and effective delivery of direct payments and focus on getting relief to eligible individuals who have not received the financial assistance to which they are entitled, the President is asking the Department of Treasury via Executive order to consider taking a series of actions to expand and improve delivery of Economic Impact Payments (a.k.a stimulus checks) including establishing online tools for claiming their payments, working to make sure that those who have not yet accessed their funds get the relief they deserve, and analyzing unserved households to inform additional outreach efforts.
As many as 8 million households may be eligible for but have not yet received the first round of stimulus payments from the CARES Act signed in March 2020; many of these households could be legally entitled to as much as $1,200 per adult (and $500 per child). A similar or larger number of households may have also missed out on the $600 second stimulus check for adults and their child dependents.
As a result the treasury department has committed to take the following actions via the IRS.
Establish online tools for non-filers to claiming their missing or incorrect stimulus payments:. Treasury and IRS will build out existing tools (e.g. the non-filer tool) to create simple and multi-lingual options for people who have not filed an income tax return to do so.
Work to reach households who were issued, but did not cash stimulus payments: Hundreds of thousands of stimulus checks and debit cards have not been cashed or activated by recipients; e.g. due to incorrect mailing address or mistakenly discarded deliveries. The IRS and Treasury will implement procedures and undertake advanced demographic analysis for unclaimed benefits or conduct outreach with those who did not claim their benefits.
They are still going to encourage those missing checks to claim them as a recovery rebate credit when filing their 2020 tax return (e.g. via TurboTax) while taking steps to prevent fraud by – for example – turning off previously-issued debit cards when new payments are made.