COVID-19

Millions of people may still be eligible to receive one-time pandemic relief checks

Justin Ho Nov 9, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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People who didn't receive a COVID-19 relief check could still get one. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
COVID-19

Millions of people may still be eligible to receive one-time pandemic relief checks

Justin Ho Nov 9, 2020
People who didn't receive a COVID-19 relief check could still get one. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The IRS is designating Nov. 10 as a national registration day for Economic Impact Payments. Those are the one-time pandemic relief checks the government has been sending out since April.

Some people still haven’t received those checks, because the IRS doesn’t have their payment information.

The IRS has been using tax return data to automatically send individuals their $1,200 relief checks. But people with little or no income aren’t required to file tax returns.

“Part of the concern is just simply the government not necessarily having the records of every person who’s entitled to get a payment,” said Leandra Lederman, professor of tax law at Indiana University.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that roughly 12 million people in the U.S. aren’t eligible to receive their payments automatically.

But Kris Cox, the group’s senior tax policy analyst, said it’s vital that those people know they’re still entitled to relief aid.

“Getting money into the hands of very low-income people is one of the highest bang-for-the-buck policies you can have during a recession,” Cox said.

The IRS says it’s sent letters to nearly 9 million so-called “non-filers,” urging them to register so they can receive their checks. The deadline to do that is Nov. 21.

You can sign up to receive an Economic Impact Payment here. The deadline is Nov. 21, 2020.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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