The feds have delivered stimulus checks to millions of Americans, but millions more who are still waiting can follow some simple steps to get their money faster.
The Trump administration expects more than 80 million people to get direct deposits this week with their share of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package Congress passed last month to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The earliest recipients of the payments — which total $1,200 for individuals earning up to $75,000 — had bank account information on file with the Internal Revenue Service because they got refunds from their 2018 or 2019 tax returns, according to officials. The government plans to mail checks to people who haven’t submitted bank info, which is likely to take several weeks.
But the feds have created tools to speed up the process for those individuals, including low-income people who don’t usually have to file tax returns. There’s also a way to track the status of your payment if you submit tax filings but haven’t gotten the money yet.
If you don’t file tax returns
The IRS has set up an online portal where people who didn’t file tax returns for the last two years can submit bank account information to get their stimulus money faster.
The form is meant for people who didn’t submit a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax filing because their gross income was less than $12,200 (or $24,400 for married couples), or who weren’t required to file a return for other reasons.
The IRS says people who receive Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits don’t need to fill out the form because the agency will use information from other forms to deliver the payments by direct deposit or paper check.
But the Social Security Administration has advised such individuals to use the form if they have dependent children younger than 17. Otherwise they’ll have to wait longer to receive the extra $500 for each qualifying child on top of their $1,200 individual payment, SSA commissioner Andrew Saul said last week.
If you do file tax returns
Some Americans who filed recent tax returns may still be waiting for their money because the IRS didn’t have their direct deposit information. Not to worry — there’s an online tool for you, too.
The IRS has launched a “Get My Payment” tool where tax filers can submit banking information to get the money more quickly. They can also use the application to check the status of their payments and confirm how they will receive the money (direct deposit or check).
Taxpayers who have moved since their last filing should also update their address with the IRS, officials say. The agency plans to mail taxpayers a letter within 15 days after their payment is made with details about how it was delivered and how to report problems with receiving it.
All told, the US Treasury Department expects a “large majority” of eligible Americans will get their stimulus money within the next two weeks, according to a Monday news release. For those who don’t get direct deposits, officials say they plan to start distributing mailed checks before the end of April.
But plenty of Americans aren’t eligible for the stimulus checks. They include anyone without a valid Social Security number, immigrants who are non-resident aliens, and people such as students who can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. People with high incomes — above $99,000 for individuals, $136,500 for a head of household or $198,000 for married couples — are also ineligible, according to the IRS.