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If you’re still waiting on your coronavirus stimulus check, here’s why

Published Jun 11th, 2020 12:58PM EDT
Stimulus check update
Image: ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
  • In the latest coronavirus stimulus check update given to congressional leaders, we learned that some 35 million stimulus checks still have not arrived at their destination.
  • The vast majority of Americans, however, have received their stimulus check by now.
  • 159 million payments have been sent out since Congress passed the CARES Act, a coronavirus relief package, back in March.

A coronavirus stimulus check update given in recent days to members of the US House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee has revealed perhaps the greatest shortcoming of the emergency relief program that was meant to quickly put money in Americans’ pockets to blunt some of the economic damage associated with the COVID-19 crisis.

It’s that the “quick” part hasn’t panned out for millions of Americans who are, even now, still waiting on their payment of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples, along with an extra $500 per eligible child. The good news: Following Congress’ appropriation of the money for this emergency benefit back in March, the federal government has sent out 159 million coronavirus stimulus checks to Americans — meaning, the lion’s share of the disbursement has been completed. In fact, another indication that’s the case can be seen in how lawmakers’ attention is now turning to whether and how to do some kind of follow-up coronavirus stimulus package. The bad news: Congressmen were told during that aforementioned committee hearing that some 35 million checks still haven’t arrived in their recipients’ mailboxes or bank accounts yet.

“The Trump Administration has delivered 159 million economic impact payments worth more than $267 billion to Americans in record time,” US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement released last week. For comparison, it took more than two months to send out 800,000 payments the last time the federal government sent out stimulus checks.

Among the people within this bucket of 35 million payment recipients still waiting on their money are as many as 18 million low-income people who file tax returns. Another 7.5 million people don’t file tax returns and receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, and there are several million more who receive Supplemental Security Income or Veterans Administration benefits and who do not file tax returns.

Additionally, there are some 10.7 million people who don’t file tax returns and who also do not receive federal government benefits.

If you’re one of the millions of people still waiting on your check, here’s how to not miss out on your $1,200. To identify and get the payments distributed to this particular group of people, the IRS created a “Non-Filers tool” where, if you register by October 15th, you can get a stimulus check by the end of the year. Moreover, the earlier you do so, the faster your check will arrive.

You can use that tool if your income is less than $12,200 per year. So can married couples whose joint annual income is less than $24,400, as well as people who have no income to report. You can also use the Non-Filers tool to sign up to receive your stimulus check even if you’re homeless.

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.