Over 9 Million Americans Are Still Owed Federal Stimulus Checks: IRS Reaches Out To People With Claims Running Into Thousands

Stimulus Check
Stimulus Check

The past couple of years have been an epic roller-coaster ride for a majority of Americans. They had to weather stomach-crunching financial and emotional inversions for months together. But it has not been the same for all. Going by general trends, it has been easier for whites. Within days of aid packages being passed and signed into law, the wildly welcome stimulus checks hit checking accounts coupled with the traction of a solid 24 weeks of unemployment.

According to multiple pieces of research, it turns out that although Latinos and Black folks are twice as likely to need and benefit from stimulus checks post the pandemic, they are less likely to get it.

All American systems are based on white supremacy culture and white middle-class norms says Gwendolyn Van Sant of a non-profit run by women and minorities that work for advancing justice and equity.

The harsh reality is that families who file their income tax returns regularly, have reliable and regular internet access, hold financial accounts, and live in stable addresses do not face barriers in receiving federal stimulus checks timely and with minimal hassles. But the above attributes are all white, middle-class norms.

Systemic Racism Or A Flawed System Skewers Stimulus Check Distribution In Favor Of Whites

And even as the middle class diversifies, it remains predominantly white. The American middle class is overwhelmingly white at 59%. Blacks make up 12% and Latinos people another 18%. The rest 10% is made up of others. So it is a matter of the system catering to a convention. People of color continue to feel the financial strain at rates that are far greater than for white Americans.

The number speak for themselves. 76% of white people have received at least one COVID-19 stimulus check. this when compared with 65% for Blacks and 67% for Latinos reveals the deep divide.

On the other hand, 50% of Blacks and 40% of Latinos individuals say they are counting on another round of stimulus payments to merely survive, while only 22% of Whites feel that they need another round of support to just get by.

Throughout the prolonged crisis period, the Blacks and Latino people are the first ones to lose out on jobs and the first to be displaced from their homes.

It is important to remember that these groups were already isolated, disconnected, and disadvantaged from normal resources even before March 2020 at a disproportionate rate when compared with the privileged whites. The pandemic only served to exacerbate all of these extreme scenarios.

The Blacks And Latinos Are Victims Of Systemic Bias Not Limited To Stimulus Checks

The underrepresented and the disenfranchised took the brunt of the hardship across the board even as millions of non-recipients of stimulus checks faced barriers to receiving federal relief payments.

The Latinos and Black Americans also had less access to legal support than the whites. Thus not only were the non-whites pushed out by the system, but they also faced stiff hurdles in ways to address the injustice through legal means.

This bias is merely an extension that is present in every institution in America. Being of a different racial group means that there have been policies, conventions, and laws that say what you can or cannot have. And they have been both covert and overt. Access has always been based on the color of one’s skin and things haven’t changed much in the 21st century.

This institutional and systemic racism is embedded through laws governing an organization or society. It has led to discrimination across the spectrum from housing, medical care, employment, the criminal justice system, political power, and as evidenced post the pandemic, the distribution of and access to government relief. It is an issue that certain communities including Latinos and Blacks continue to face.

Another detail that went against such communities was that they work in sectors that have been the hardest hit. Latinos dominate the lower end of the hotel, restaurant, and tourist industry. Such service-oriented jobs were the hardest hit and with the wages they earned, they had no cushion to fall back on.

This section of the population has been historically blocked from access to multiple public benefits and the issue becomes extremely complex for those without social security numbers.

The immigrant community is hard-working and does not rely on the government to pay their bills. Welfare is a concept that is alien especially to immigrants from Latin nations. And when their hours are cut and they are not able to work, they become extremely vulnerable.

Colored families remain confused and cannot fathom why the three stimulus checks never materialized particularly for them. Most are confronted with the terse message that payment status is not available.

For most colored families, the only way they seek is to work their way out of economic trouble. They have no time to dwell on the ingrained inequities in the system. It only leaves them sad and perplexed as distinctions continued to be made despite their great contributions to American life and culture.

While on paper America talks of equality of opportunity, equality before lay, individual freedom, and self-governance. But on the ground, such practice is reserved for a privileged few.

IRS Moves Ahead To Correct Inequities In Distribution Of Stimulus Checks

The IRS and the Treasury have moved ahead to notify over 9 million Americans who are likely to be eligible but have slipped under the radar of the IRS for multiple reasons and are yet to claim their relief payments. That mostly pertains to Americans who do not typically file a federal or state income tax return. They will have until November 17 to register through IRS.gov, the non-filer tool set up by the IRS to have their payments made by the end of 2022.

The IRS has informed that around 160 million filers have already received their stimulus check, sent out to offset the economic downturn triggered by the pandemic.

The people who have missed out on the multiple rounds of payments are normally Americans who are not on the records of the IRS as they do not file taxes due to their low earnings.

the IRS has mailed letters to such potential recipients informing them that they could be eligible for a payment if they meet certain criteria such as if they are citizens, resident aliens, or have a valid Social Security number. The IRS has informed that 7 million people have already registered through the non-filers toll to get their stimulus checks.