The Internal Revenue Service has confirmed that nearly two million more coronavirus stimulus checks have been disbursed to cash-strapped taxpayers under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, according to the service’s latest update this week.
To date—including this current fifth batch of payments of 1.2 million direct deposit payments and nearly eight hundred thousand paper checks—roughly one hundred fifty-nine million checks worth a total of $376 billion have been sent out to Americans.
This now represents 84 percent of the $450 billion total earmarked for stimulus funds, the agency noted.
People who are still struggling amid the ongoing pandemic should know that there could be more financial help on the way. This particular batch included more than seven hundred thousand “plus-up” or supplemental payments for those folks who only received partial $1,400 checks on an earlier date.
“This batch includes the first of ongoing supplemental payments for people who earlier in March received payments based on their 2019 tax returns but are eligible for a new or larger payment based on their recently processed 2020 tax returns,” the IRS said in a statement.
“These ‘plus-up’ payments could include a situation where a person’s income dropped in 2020 compared to 2019, or a person had a new child or dependent on their 2020 tax return, and other situations.”
Payments were also issued to people who recently filed tax returns in order to qualify for the stimulus money, due to the fact that the IRS did not have their necessary information on record.
The agency has estimated that it will ultimately send out more than $1.2 billion in “plus-up” payments, many of which should already have landed in bank accounts on April 14. These checks will continue to go out on a weekly basis going forward, as the IRS continues to process tax returns from 2020 and 2019.
The latest batch also heavily targeted Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments but have yet to file their 2019 or 2020 taxes or did not use the IRS “Non-Filer” tool to set up direct payments. More than three hundred twenty thousand checks were sent out to individuals who fit into this category.
“The IRS continues to review data received from Veterans Affairs (VA), which covers veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments who don’t normally file a tax return,” the IRS stated.
In addition, those who didn’t receive either of the first two stimulus payments can still try to claim the money that they’re entitled to. For this tax season, a Recovery Rebate Credit has been added to all returns, so that people in this situation can eventually receive the overdue payments.
The IRS website states that “if you didn’t get any payments or got less than the full amounts, you may qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit even if you don’t normally file.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.