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Families that didn’t get $500 stimulus payments for children now have another chance

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A man holds a U.S. government Treasury check.

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With the $1,200 stimulus payments from the federal government, parents were promised an additional $500 for each child they claimed as a dependent. But many low-income parents never got that money. Now the IRS is giving them another chance to collect.

Marketplace’s Nova Safo is following this story, and the following is an edited transcript of his conversation with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio.

Nova Safo: In order to get stimulus checks out to people quickly, the government relied on recent tax filings and information the government already had about those getting federal benefits, such as social security payments. For parents, it got a little more complicated: If you’d claimed dependents on your 2018 or 2019 tax returns, you got an additional $500 for each child.

But a lot of low-income parents fell through the cracks if they didn’t file tax returns, because they were not required to. Since these parents were getting federal benefits, they were told they’d get the stimulus checks automatically — they didn’t have to do anything else.

Then the IRS suddenly said, “Oh, but you do have to tell us about your children for the additional $500 payments,” and it gave just two days for parents to respond.

A lot of people missed that deadline and didn’t get the additional money.

Brancaccio: OK, so a reset. What’s the new approach now for families to get the $500 for each dependent kid?

Safo: The IRS is reopening registration on its website. Parents have to fill out information in what’s called a “non-filers tool.”

This is, again, for people who have not filed a 2018 tax return and do not plan on filing a 2019 tax return. They have until the end of September to tell the IRS about their dependent children. The agency says payments will go out in mid-October, six months after people first started receiving stimulus checks.

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