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New stimulus checks aren’t coming after all, but here’s some good news

Published Aug 25th, 2020 1:41PM EDT
New stimulus check
Image: Pamela Au/Adobe
  • No one is getting a new stimulus check anytime soon, despite the fact that a new coronavirus relief package is still poised to make its way through Congress soon.
  • Nevertheless, there might still be new stimulus money coming your way.
  • The IRS is sending out “catch-up” payments of at least $500 to cover the payments for eligible children that weren’t included with some of the original stimulus checks earlier this year.

This summer has proven to be a major disappointment to anyone who was waiting on a new stimulus check, perhaps imagining how it would make life a little easier and provide a badly needed source of new funds with which to pay bills. That’s a pretty likely scenario, all things considering, since the coronavirus pandemic that’s resulted in more than 5.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US (along with more than 177,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University) has also wrecked state and local economies around the US. Whole business sectors have seen demand utterly collapse, such as the restaurant sector in some parts of the country, as well as the hospitality and aviation industries. And in places that have recovered more than others, like New York City, the response is still limiting how much those sectors can recover — with NYC mayor Bill de Blasio saying in recent days that indoor dining might not be allowed to return in the city until sometime in 2021.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, Congress during the pandemic has somehow has managed to live up to everybody’s worst assumptions about the body — with legislative interests being so entrenched these days that they’d rather maintain the status quo than do something big for the American people. Which means that, as a Forbes writer put it this week, “Sorry America, but the second stimulus check may not happen after all.”

However, it’s not all bad news. While Congress still has yet to take final action on the HEALS Act — which includes lots of stimulus-related benefits, but no stimulus checks, unfortunately — you may actually still be owed at least a small stimulus check from the IRS without even realizing it.

As we explained here, as part of the first coronavirus stimulus bill that Congress passed back at the end of March, there was funding included in it to support the first wave of stimulus checks. When you got that check, it was supposed to have included a little extra money if you have children — $500 for each eligible child under the age of 17.

For a variety of reasons, some Americans did not receive that money for their children, and checks to cover that missing amount are what the IRS has said are being sent out over the next couple of months. According to the tax agency, these “catch-up payments,” as the tax agency refers to the money that you were supposed to have already gotten, will be issued by mid-October.

Anyone who gets Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits, or Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement benefits, or Veterans Affairs Compensation and Pension benefits — and who has not yet used the IRS’ Non-Filers tool to provide information on their child — should make sure and do that by September 30. If you already used the tool after May 5, the IRS says no additional action on your part is needed.

To speed up the distribution of the remaining money, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig explained in a news release that the tax agency is “allocating additional IRS resources to ensure eligible recipients receive their full payments during this challenging time.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.