President Joe Biden in early March signed into law the American Rescue Plan of 2021, a $1.9 trillion package that built on two rescue packages passed in 2020, the CARES Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The bill was meant to rev up vaccine distribution, extend unemployment benefits, and much more, including the expansion of multiple tax credits.
But the part of the Rescue Plan that got the most attention was the distribution of $1,400 checks to most Americans, as a way to stimulate the economy and help Americans after the significant health and economic dislocations brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
Many Americans got their payments right away, but others are still waiting for their money.
For those wondering where their money is and when they might receive it, the IRS has launched a “Get My Payment” tool, allowing Americans to figure out how much money to expect and where they might get it. There’s also an app, which updates daily, but the IRS employs taxpayers not to call the IRS, because “our phone assistors don’t have information beyond what’s available on IRS.gov.”
The Motley Fool site The Ascent recently listed several reasons why taxpayers may have not yet received their stimulus check from the Rescue Plan.
For one thing, some payments just plain haven’t been sent out yet. Those with direct deposit bank accounts tended to get their money first, and those depending on the mail may very well be subject to the delays that have hit the USPS in recent months.
There are also complications involving those who receive payments from the Social Security Administration and the VA. The IRS did recently announce, however, that those payments are soon on the way.
There have also been some errors, possibly involving stimulus checks being deposited in the wrong account, possibly an old account that the taxpayer doesn’t use. This has also happened with the mail-some recipients have had the check mailed to their old address rather than their current one.
There are also some taxpayers who do not qualify for payments, with the income thresholds in the Rescue Plan at $80,000 for single people and $160,000 for couples. There were also some cases in which debt collectors have garnished money from the checks-something not allowed by the two 2020 rescue packages, but not forbidden by the 2021 law.
And finally, some are not getting their stimulus checks because they didn’t file taxes the last two years.
A recent survey looked at what Americans are spending their stimulus money on, with the majority spending it on bills and household expenses than on any other category.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.