CORONAVIRUS

As Many As 35 Million People Haven't Yet Received Stimulus Checks

The CARES Act promised economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic, but many eligible households still haven't gotten their share.

As many as 35 million people entitled to stimulus payments from the U.S. government haven’t yet received them, according to a House Ways and Means Committee analysis.

Congress allocated the money, officially called economic impact payments, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, in late March. The legislation provides up to $1,200 to U.S. citizens and noncitizens with green cards or work visas, and an additional $500 for each dependent child under 17 years of age.

Last Wednesday, the IRS announced it had delivered 159 million stimulus payments to eligible individuals and families. That means between 30 million and 35 million payments have not yet gone out, the Ways and Means Committee estimated in an analysis released Friday.

That includes 13 million to 18 million people who filed tax returns and who are below the income thresholds outlined in the CARES Act; 7.5 million Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits recipients who do not file tax returns; and millions of people who receive Supplemental Security Income or Veterans Administration benefits and do not file tax returns.

The Treasury Department, which houses the IRS, should have the necessary information for most of these individuals to deliver the stimulus payments, according to the Ways and Means Committee. However, the department may not have information for the roughly 10.7 million people who are entitled to stimulus payments but do not file tax returns and do not receive federal government benefits, the committee said.

What’s more, the IRS has yet to open and process an estimated 10 million pieces of mail, including over 4 million tax returns, according to the House committee. Some of these returns may be from first-time filers who would qualify for stimulus payments.

The Treasury Department did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.

More than 40 million Americans have filed jobless claims since mid-March amid the pandemic’s devastating impact on the economy. Some who have not yet received a stimulus check have waited months to receive much-needed unemployment benefits, including the pandemic assistance outlined in the CARES Act.

While millions of people continue to wait for their stimulus checks, Congress is debating a second round of payments. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act which would provide for the next stimulus checks, has passed the House, but has met resistance in the Republican-controlled Senate. 

“If Congress fails to continue to respond to the emergency, we could quickly lose what progress we’ve made and prolong our nation’s suffering,” Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) said in a statement Friday. “Senate Republicans need to stop stalling, step up, and do their jobs.”


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