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These people are still owed $1,200 stimulus checks – are you on the list?

Published Nov 9th, 2020 12:18PM EST
New stimulus check
Image: Andy Dean/Adobe
  • While Americans wait to see when or if Congress passes a long-awaited second coronavirus relief bill that would provide millions of Americans with a new stimulus check, it’s important to remember there are still many Americans waiting on a stimulus payment now.
  • That’s because the IRS may have erroneously left off a portion of their initial stimulus check payment, or because these people might not even realize they’re owed a check and need to take steps to get it.
  • Here’s a look at some of the people who are still owed a coronavirus stimulus check, even as 2020 draws to a close.

What a year this has been, with such an extraordinary sequence of events. The coronavirus pandemic breaks out across the world, the US economy is temporarily left in shambles from it, tens of millions of people lose their jobs, Congress takes the dramatic step of approving direct financial assistance to be sent out to Americans … and here we are, the end of 2020 in sight, a new president having just been named, and there are somehow still Americans waiting to receive a stimulus payment. That’s 2020 for you.

We’ve covered in detail the fruitless, months-long effort by Congress to approve funding that would provide most Americans with a new stimulus check. This obscures the fact, though, that even at this late stage there are several groups of people still waiting on either their first $1,200 stimulus check or a portion of it that was erroneously held back. Such as — and we can just go ahead and dive right in — the parents of eligible children whose stimulus check wasn’t as big as it should have been.

The CARES Act, which Congress passed back in March at the start of the pandemic, provided funding for a $500 per-child payment to parents on top of the $1,200 stimulus check guarantee. The only requirement was that the dependent children in question be 16 years old or younger. For some reason, however, some parents got their stimulus check without all of the $500 per-child add-ons that they should have received, making their check not as big as it should have been.

For anyone in this boat, visit the IRS’ Get My Payment tool on the tax agency’s website for more information on how to request your per-child payment, if you haven’t done so already. You’ve got until November 21 to claim that payment in order to be able to receive it in December — but don’t worry, if somehow you miss that deadline you’ll also be able to claim it on your federal tax return next year.

Other situations: There are also payment eligibility rules that differ, depending on whether we’re talking about US citizens who live outside the country, spouses of nonresidents in the US, and nonresident US citizens who work here in the country. Check out this guide that breaks down the different eligibility scenarios and lets you know what to do if you haven’t received a check.

If you don’t normally file taxes, perhaps because your annual income is not high enough to trigger that requirement, you may still be eligible for a stimulus check if you haven’t received one already. The tax agency, in fact, already started sending out letters and began trying to get in touch with several million Americans in this category who didn’t know they, too, could receive a stimulus check — it’s just that they actually have to register with the IRS in order to claim it and for the IRS to know where to send it.

Non-filers can include people who also don’t file because they’re retirees or federal benefit recipients, in addition to those with an annual income of less than $12,200. For those people, there’s a November 21 deadline to file a claim for their stimulus payments. Use the Non-Filers tool at to do so.

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.

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