The issue of stimulus checks is on the mind of many Americans these days. Even as states have started to lift their Stay-at-Home restrictions, many businesses are hesitant to open, just as some people aren't quite ready to get back to normal. Then there are the millions of people who've filed for unemployment after countless businesses have closed down.
However, the stimulus payments, part of the $2 trillion CARES Act to keep the economy afloat, have not been without issue. As a result, there are millions of U.S. citizens who are anxiously awaiting their one-time payment of $1,200 (plus $500 for each dependent claimed). For those who haven't received one yet, there's no easy answer for what the hold up could be. While it could have gone into the wrong account or garnished by debt collectors, there's a chance it could still be in transit.
Given that this is such a prominent concern, CBS News gave a rundown of the most common questions people have about their stimulus payments, as well as the best possible answers. Here's a look at where that missing stimulus payment could possibly be.
Where is the Payment?
This is the big question, and there's no one answer, unfortunately. The payments began back on April 10 and have been set up to go out in waves, prioritized from lowest to highest. Those who receive Social Security beneficiaries, railroad retirees and veterans who aren't required to file a tax return just started going out at the end of April, and will continue through May.
Others who are not required to file tax returns, such as those with low income, are encouraged to file basic information on the IRS website. For the most accurate answer, the only option is the Get My Payment tool on the IRS website.
Why Won't 'Get My Payment' Work?
There have been some improvements to the IRS Get My Payment tool, but it's still not a flawless experience. Several people have complained that they're unable to get past the first step of entering their basic information. That could be resolved by making sure the information entered matches up exactly to the most recent tax return — including things like abbreviations.
There had been a potential fix floating around that was resolved by putting the address in all caps, although that hasn't worked for everyone. Also, for those who forgot their password: three unsuccessful attempts to log on in one day will result in a 24-hour lockout.
Why Didn't Dependents Classify?
The $500 allotted per taxpayer defendant hasn't always come through as expected, however there are some situations where that might happen. Namely, if someone else can (or has) claim a child as their dependent or if the child isn't reflected on your most recent tax return, it wouldn't be counted for the stimulus payments.
There was also a non-filer portal set up on the IRS website for those who receive Supplemental Security Income or Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. While it won't impact the $1,200, the deadline for updating dependent information passed on Tuesday. However, any amount not received in error can be claimed on the 2020 tax return.
What if it's Sent to the Wrong Account?
One of the most common complaints has been the stimulus payments ending up in the wrong account. If the account that the IRS has on record has been closed, the bank should reject the deposit and mail a check to the last known address on file. Should this situation arise, contact the bank where it was sent for more the fastest-possible resolution.
What About Payments to Dead Relatives?
This one is unclear. Given the problematic rollout, some payments have been issued to those who've passed away since their last tax filing. Both President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have said that these payments should be returned, though there's been no formal guidance for this. The IRS is currently working on the issue, but it's probably best not to count on that money sticking around.
Where Are Issues Reported
Unfortunately, the IRS is understaffed to the point they aren't offering any phone support at the moment, and the only possible way to get help is through the Get My Payment tool. However, roughly two weeks after payment was sent, the IRS will send a letter letting recipients know how it was made and how to report issues.