COVID-19

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

Justin Ho Nov 9, 2020
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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
Heard on:
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

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

How long will it be until the economy is back to normal?

It feels like things are getting better, more and more people getting vaccinated, more businesses opening, but we’re not entirely out of the woods. To illustrate: two recent pieces of news from the Centers for Disease Control. Item 1: The CDC is extending its tenant eviction moratorium to June 30. Item 2: The cruise industry didn’t get what it wanted — restrictions on sailing from U.S. ports will stay in place until November. Very different issues with different stakes, but both point to the fact that the CDC thinks we still have a ways to go before the pandemic is over, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, who used to work at the CDC and now teaches at Boston College.

How are those COVID relief payments affecting consumers?

Payments started going out within days of President Joe Biden signing the American Rescue Plan, and that’s been a big shot in the arm for consumers, said John Leer at Morning Consult, which polls Americans every day. “Consumer confidence is really on a tear. They are growing more confident at a faster rate than they have following the prior two stimulus packages.” Leer said this time around the checks are bigger and they’re getting out faster. Now, rising confidence is likely to spark more consumer spending. But Lisa Rowan at Forbes Advisor said it’s not clear how much or how fast.

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