Why You May Have Missed a Stimulus Payment and Whether There Is Still Time To Claim

United States IRS Stimulus Check with Statue of Liberty Wearing Medical Face Mask Resting on Money.
Feverpitched / iStock.com

Back in September 2020, the IRS announced it would be attempting to contact the nearly nine million low- or no-income individuals and families who aren’t normally required to pay taxes to encourage them to get Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) or stimulus checks.

Fast forward two years, and there are between 9-10 million eligible individuals identified who still haven’t received EIP payments, according to IRS and the U.S. Department of Treasury data cited in a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) statement issued Oct. 11.

Although Oct. 17 was the deadline for taxpayers who missed the April deadline to file taxes and claim the COVID-relief payments, non-filing individuals and families have until Nov. 15 to file a simplified tax return and get their stimulus checks, claims the GAO. Those interested will need to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit through the IRS.

This November due date is specifically for those who don’t work or have no or little earned income and have had difficulties receiving COVID-relief due to having no internet access, bank accounts or experiencing homelessness. Low- or moderate-income workers who are typically eligible to receive tax benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) had until Oct. 17 to file, per the IRS.

Between Apr. 2020 and Dec. 2021, Congress approved the issuing of three stimulus checks, totalling $931 billion, to aid eligible individuals and families during the pandemic. Most individuals making below $75,000 or married couples making below $150,000 qualified for the relief payments.

When they began issuing EIPs in 2020, the IRS and Treasury were using taxpayer data to automatically determine eligibility and issue stimulus checks. After they performed a state-by-state review and sent notices to partner groups serving underserved communities and people experiencing homelessness, it was still a challenge to get payments to the millions of non-filers, according to the GAO.

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The congressional watchdog found a handful of groups that were having trouble receiving payments, including those that:  

  • had never filed a tax return
  • were filing for the first time
  • did not have bank accounts or who lacked access to banks
  • had mixed immigrant status families
  • did not have internet access or had limited internet access
  • were experiencing homelessness

Anyone from one of the groups listed above who has missed out on receiving pandemic stimulus payments and is looking to file a simplified tax return and claim a Recovery Rebate Credit for the 2020 and 2021 tax years should check the eligibility and application information on the IRS’s Economic Impact Payments page.

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