Unhoused People May Not Have Access to Stimulus Checks — Here’s How They Can Get It

homeless man in a homeless shelter

The Americans who need financial support the most might not have easy access to obtaining stimulus checks. Those who are homeless are at risk of not receiving a check from the government at all, not because of eligibility, but because of lack of access.

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Two challenges unhoused individuals face in receiving a stimulus check are not having a physical address on file with the IRS and not having a recent tax return on file, according to Reuters. Although these individuals remain eligible for a stimulus check, they won’t receive one unless they take the following key steps:

File a 2020 Tax Return

Last year, eligible non-filers were able to access an IRS option to claim their stimulus checks. This year, a 2020 tax return must be filed first. Even unhoused individuals without income are able to file a tax return, according to Reuters.

Homeless individuals can file their taxes for free through IRS Free File online or by visiting a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance location. However, the IRS warns that many VITA locations are operating at limited capacity or are closed due to the pandemic.

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List a Bank Account or Mailing Address

In order to receive a stimulus payment, homeless individuals with a bank account can sign up for direct deposit. The alternative option is to receive an Economic Impact Payment debit card by mail. To receive an EIP card, unhoused individuals must provide a mailing address — this could be the address of shelter, family member, friend or P.O. box.

According to Reuters, homeless individuals can also file with a fee-based service such as Liberty Tax or H&R Block and receive their stimulus payment on a prepaid card.

“Since the first round of stimulus payments, the IRS has been working extensively with partner and outreach groups across the country to reach the homeless community,” an IRS spokesperson told Reuters. “These efforts helped many in the homeless community sign up for payments, but more remain eligible.”

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About the Author

Courtney Johnston is an Indianapolis-based freelance writer with an emphasis on finance and small business. Her work has appeared on The Motley Fool, Investopedia, Fundera, JoyWallet, The Chicago Tribune, and Benzinga. She's passionate about personal finance and loves talking about money at www.courtneywrites.com.
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