The IRS is planning to hire more workers to help with the mounting number of questions and grievances people have over their stimulus checks. The announcement, which comes after weeks of complaints about the payments, was made on Monday, according to CBS News.
There will be 3,500 employees brought on to answer questions about stimulus payments over the phone, which the agency was previously unable to offer due to staffing shortages. In a statement on IRS.gov, it specifies that the workers will be brought in to answer "the most common questions" people have. As the outlet notes, the most common question is still when the payment will arrive, so it's unclear if people dealing with more complicated situations will be able to find help.
The number, (800) 919-9835, connects to an automated message that recommends the online Get My Payment tool, which has been its own source of aggravation for anxious recipients. It then features a phone tree where users can find other automated messages about some of the more common problems. There are a few unknowns at this point. Namely, when live representatives will be available to pick up on the other end, and if they'll be existing staff or new hires, which could impact their availability.
The IRS reports that somewhere between 130 million and 150 million Americans have received their stimulus payment. Part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, the stimulus checks allot a one-time $1,200 payment to U.S. citizens over the age of 18, as well as $500 for each dependent. Although, as millions of people have filed for unemployment due to massive economic and social disruption, there is currently a second stimulus bill in development.
Dubbed The Heroes Act, the bill was passed by the House on Friday, which would give another $1,200 payment, but lower the age to 17. It would also include immigrants, a group that was previously excluded from The CARES Act. Despite some somewhat inconsistent indications of bipartisan support, it's been attacked from both sides for both going too far in its spending and not going far enough to help individuals, depending on which side of the aisle they sat on. A recent statement from The White House indicated renewed support for an additional stimulus package, and it's unclear if The Heroes Act will end up getting signed into law.