Three rounds of stimulus checks during the pandemic helped millions of Americans through the crisis, but there may still be as many as 10 million people who haven’t claimed their money, according to a new government report.
About 165 million Americans were eligible for stimulus checks that totaled $931 billion in direct payments, the Government Accountability Office said Tuesday. message. The IRS relied on tax returns to determine eligibility and send payments to individuals and families, while relying on bank account information or home addresses to send checks.
But millions of Americans, such as some very low-income adults and some seniors who receive only Social Security benefits, are not required to file taxes. That made it difficult for the IRS to reach them when it distributed stimulus checks, and they could miss out on receiving all their payments, the GAO said.
“During the pandemic, the IRS and Treasury have struggled to get COVID relief payments into the hands of some people — particularly those with lower incomes, limited Internet access, or homelessness,” the GAO said in the report.
There is still time to file a claim
There is some good news: People who missed stimulus checks still have time to claim them, the report said.
“Individuals with little or no income and therefore not required to pay taxes must complete a simplified tax return by November 15 to receive their payments,” the GAO said.
People also still have time to apply for the extended child discount that was given to eligible families last year. That credit provided up to $3,600 to families with children under 17, but parents who didn’t receive payments last year can only claim them until Nov. 15.
To apply for a missing stimulus payment, people should go to the IRS website for “Payments for economic impact,” the official name of the program and follow the instructions there. To receive the money, you will need to file a simplified tax return.
Parents who are still missing their 2021 child tax credits can go to GetCTC.org website to apply them.
However, people who are required to file taxes on their income and who missed the April 15 deadline to file their tax returns are eligible for payments through Oct. 17, the GAO said. October 17 is the deadline to file your 2021 tax return if you applied extension from IZS.