In their latest update, the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury have announced that more than twenty-five million coronavirus stimulus checks worth $36 billion have been disbursed this week to financially struggling Americans under President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
To date, this fourth batch of stimulus checks now brings the total number of payments to one hundred fifty-six million worth approximately $372 billion, according to the agencies. In all, about 85 percent of stimulus checks sent so far have been direct deposited in bank accounts, the IRS noted.
This particular batch also heavily targeted Social Security beneficiaries who for weeks have been left to wonder when their funds would arrive in their bank accounts or mailboxes.
Roughly nineteen million payments representing more than $26 billion were earmarked for Social Security beneficiaries who did not file their 2019 or 2020 taxes or did not use the IRS Non-Filer tool for direct payments, and more than three million payments totaling $5 billion were sent to Supplemental Security Income and Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries.
The reason for the holdup in the transfer of the much-needed funds was due to the Social Security Administration (SSA), according to a recent letter from the House Ways and Means Committee to the benefits agency, contending that millions of senior citizens were sitting empty-handed because the SSA didn’t turn over the necessary payment information to the IRS in a timely fashion.
The agency recently acknowledged that it had been reviewing, validating, and testing the payment records after receiving them from the SSA.
Moreover, the IRS noted that it will start processing payments this week for Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who do not normally file tax returns. The official payment date for those stimulus checks that are sent out as direct deposits will be April 14.
Another notable fact about the fourth batch is that it is the first one that includes “plus-up” or supplemental payments for those who only received partial $1,400 payments 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 those 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. These checks will continue to go out on a weekly basis going forward, according to the IRS.
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.