COVID-19

Who’s getting the $1,200 COVID-19 checks first?

David Brancaccio, Kimberly Adams, and Alex Schroeder Apr 13, 2020
HTML EMBED:
COPY
People who never gave the IRS their bank information may have to wait weeks, if not months, to get their payments. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
COVID-19

Who’s getting the $1,200 COVID-19 checks first?

David Brancaccio, Kimberly Adams, and Alex Schroeder Apr 13, 2020
People who never gave the IRS their bank information may have to wait weeks, if not months, to get their payments. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Update: The IRS’ online portal to check the status of your payment is now live. Visit the “Get My Payment” tool here.


The IRS says it has started distributing emergency aid payments, the $1,200 per person that’s part of the federal government’s effort to take some economic pressure off individuals in this pandemic.

But not everyone is getting paid at the same time.

Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams has the latest update on where the payments stand.

“According to the IRS, people who filed taxes in the past two years and who used direct deposit for their refunds will be the first to get the payments,” Adams told “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio.

The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Kimberly Adams: The $1,200 per person applies to people who are U.S. citizens or residents and make less than $99,000 a year, for individuals.

David Brancaccio: And what does the timeline look like for people who don’t have direct deposit or are on social security and didn’t file taxes in the past couple years?

Adams: People who never gave the IRS their bank information may have to wait weeks, if not months to get their payments. And people who didn’t file at all in 2018 or 2019 will have to wait as well. The IRS is letting non-filers register online so they can get their payments. The agency expected to have a similar tool up online later this week for people who filed taxes but never shared their bank information.

Brancaccio: There’s a published report out that a certain group of people who have filed in the past may still face some additional delays?

Adams: The Financial Times is reporting that some taxpayers who used so-called “refund transfer” services may face additional delays. Those services allow people to use their refunds to pay for preparation and filing services, but it means their refund goes through a third party before it gets to them. Some consumer advocates are warning this will cause additional delays for low-income filers.

Brancaccio: How can people find out which batch they will be in to receive funds?

Adams: Right now, you can’t. Again, most people who already gave their bank information to the government, even for social security benefits, shouldn’t have to do anything extra. Just wait. The IRS is working on another tool to track the payments, which is supposed to be ready later this week.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Will the federal government extend the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

It’s still unclear. Congress and President Donald Trump are deciding whether to extend the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits workers are getting because of the pandemic. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia believes the program should not be extended, and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the additional money is disincentivizing some workers from returning to their jobs. Democrats want to keep providing the money until January.

As states lift restrictions, are people going back to stores and restaurants?

States have relaxed their restrictions, and many of us have relaxed, too. Some people have started to make exceptions for visiting restaurants, if only for outdoor dining. Some are only going to places they trust are being extra cautious. But no one we’ve talked to has really gone back to normal. People just aren’t quite there yet.

Will surges in COVID-19 cases mean a return to lockdowns?

In many areas where businesses are reopening, cases of COVID-19 are trending upwards, causing some to ask if the lockdowns were lifted too soon, and if residents and businesses might have to go through it all again. So, how likely is another lockdown, of some sort? The answer depends on who you ask. Many local officials are now bullish about keeping businesses open to salvage their economies. Health experts, though, are concerned.

You can find answers to more questions here.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.