As Americans across the country continue to receive their coronavirus stimulus checks, a growing number of people are reporting that theirs have seemingly gone missing despite the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)showing that they were distributed. The trend was first uncovered by a Better Call Behnken investigation among Tampa Bay residents, who said that the IRS' "Get My Payment" tool claimed that their payments had been distributed on April 29, shortly after the IRS began to issue the first round of payments in mid-April.
Speaking with News Channel 8 reporter Shannon Behnken, Tampa resident David Charles said that he turned to Better Call Behnken for help after he failed to get clarification from the IRS. Eligible for a $1,200 payment, Charles had activated a PayPal prepaid Mastercard to receive his payment, and the IRS website reported that the amount had been deposited on April 29, though more than a week later, Charles still had not received the money, which he was counting on to pay for necessities. He eventually contacted Better Call Behnken, who likewise contacted PayPal, with the company later offering to issue the money and attempt to get it back from the IRS.
"(They said) whatever is the problem, it's not your fault," Charles said. "'We're going to deposit the money in your account from our bank and then just wait on the IRS to send the money to your bank account.'"
According to News Channel 8, several viewers reached out after seeing Charles' story to report that they had experienced the same thing. A spokesman for Congressman Gus Bilirakis also said that their office had received five similar complaints and asked the IRS to look into this issue. The IRS has not yet commented on the matter.
On April 15, the IRS launched a new online portal, the "Get My Payment" tool, to allow Americans to track the status of their stimulus payment. The tool also allows people to input their banking information in order to receive their stimulus payout via direct deposit. The tool, however, has been plagued with issues, with some people reporting that they have encountered an error message reading "Payment Status Not Available."
Meanwhile, people not receiving their payments despite a status showing that it was distributed, is just one of a number of issues Americans have reported with the distribution of stimulus payments. While some Americans will be waiting weeks, possibly even months, to receive a paper check, some people have reported that their deceased loved ones have been sent a payment. The IRS has since stated that those payments must be returned "immediately."