Second Stimulus Check: Why Some Americans Won't Get Another Payment Until 2021

As millions of Americans await news of a second stimulus check, some Americans are already promised to receive a payment in 2021, though it has little to do with any negotiations currently taking place on Capitol Hill. As the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began distributing the first round of payments passed under the CARES Act, a number of errors led to some eligible Americans not receiving the full amount or not receiving a payment at all, and the IRS is now working to correct those mistakes.

According to the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), which is now accepting cases from individuals who are missing some of, or all of, their payment, there are at least four scenarios in which a person could receive a payment in 2021. The four scenarios for which this applies include: taxpayers who filed an amended return that increased the amount of their economic impact payment after it was already issued by the IRS; an economic impact payment (EIP) that was calculated on the wrong year (ex: the IRS calculated the payment based on a 2018 tax return rather than a 2019 tax return); an EIP was calculated Government-Issued 2019 Information Return (SSA 1099 or RRB 1099) or 2019 SSI or VA Benefits Paid, though the taxpayer later filed a 2019 tax return; and SSA/RRB, VA or SSI who were claimed as dependents on another taxpayer’s return.

The delay in payment is due to the IRS not currently having a process in place to make adjustments to these payments. People who fall under these circumstances will instead have to claim any additional amounts on their 2020 tax returns, meaning they will not see the funds until sometime in 202. The TAS says this situation "is not a good answer for taxpayers," as the CARES Act had mandated that payments be sent "as rapidly as possible" in order to aid struggling Americans, and "many of these individuals need their stimulus payments now."

The IRS is also working to fix a number of other errors, including an error encountered by thousands of Americans that caused them not to receive the $500 for eligible dependents. In many of these scenarios, no action is required, as the IRS will simply recalculate the economic impact payment sum and distribute any missing money automatically. Those with questions can contact the IRS at 800-919-9835.

As the IRS works to resolve errors in the first round of stimulus payments, Congress is currently discussing a second round. Additional direct payments have gained bipartisan support, though it is unclear if any additional payments will be approved following the collapse of negotiations.