The $1,400 stimulus checks that were distributed as part of the American Rescue Plan have been rolling out in recent weeks, and signs are the payments have succeeded in helping the economy, at least in the form of higher retail sales. However, there are some who should have gotten checks already who haven’t yet received them.
According to a CNBC roundup, 159 million payments, totaling over $376 billion, had been sent out as of earlier this week.
But there are a few different categories of Americans who have not yet received their money.
Among those are people who are set to receive “plus up” payments. These are for people whose economic picture has changed between 2019 and 2020, either by the addition of a child or a drop in income. The stimulus checks that arrived in 2020 were based on the taxpayer’s 2019 tax return, but this year’s check is calculated from their 2020 tax return.
Those who don’t file tax returns, either because their income is too low or for other reasons, may still be waiting for money that could arrive later. This is also the case with veterans who receive benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security beneficiaries, or those who receive other government benefits that have them not typically filling out a tax return.
Also, homeless people are still waiting for money. If they don’t have a fixed address, then they will likely not personally be receiving the checks or other communications from the IRS.
Other common mistakes can happen. Sometimes the checks have been deposited in the wrong bank or sent to the citizens’ tax preparer rather than the person’s account, or paper checks have been sent to the wrong address. Some checks have delayed because of the U.S. Postal Service delays that have been in effect for the last several months.
Some people have had all or part of their checks garnished by debt collectors, which is allowed for the current checks but weren’t for the ones from last years’ CARES Act. And some may have fallen victim to scammers, who have used various methods to try to scam people’s stimulus payments.
Of course, as pointed out by CNET, some people haven’t gotten their stimulus check because they’re simply not eligible for it.
There are also some who got their payments but will need to return them, for various reasons. And despite various viral social media posts, the majority of undocumented immigrants are not eligible for the stimulus checks. Meanwhile, there is pressure from some outside interest groups, as well as some Democratic lawmakers, to pass a fourth or possibly even a fifth round of checks, although that appears unlikely at least in the short term.
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.