As the second wave of economic impact payments continues to be debated by lawmakers, 12 million Americans could still be eligible to receive their $1,200 stimulus checks authorized as part of the CARES Act. Signed into law by President Donald Trump in late March, as many states enacted stay-at-home orders and unemployment numbers began to climb to record highs, one measure of the bill saw direct payments going to the majority of American households. Although an estimated 160 million Americans have already received their payments, more than 10 million are at risk of missing out, according to a recent estimate by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Basing its estimate on data from the Census Bureau, according to CNBC, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that approximately 12 million people will need to take action in order to receive their payments. Although most Americans will automatically receive their payments without having to take further steps, those who have not worked for a long period of time, low-income families with children, and low-income adults who do not have children could miss out on payments, as further action is required on their part.
Of the 12 million at risk of missing out are 9 million people who didn't file tax returns for 2018 or 2019 and who do not receive federal benefits, but do receive financial assistance through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Medicaid. The report found that this group is "disproportionately people of color because they are likelier to have lower incomes due to historical racism and ongoing bias and discrimination," with 27 percent Black and 19 percent Latino. The remaining 3 million also didn’t file tax returns and do not receive support through SNAP or Medicaid.
For those Americans falling into these groups, they will need to use the Non-Filers tool on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) website. The tool was created specifically for those people who did not file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return because their gross income was under $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) or for those who weren't required to file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return for other reasons
With an Oct. 15 stimulus check registration deadline, IRS is aware of the millions of eligible Americans at risk of not receiving their payments. In a statement, the IRS said it would be "conducting an extensive outreach and education effort to partner groups who serve homeless individuals, underserved communities, limited English households and others" over the course of the next few months.