Make A Move If You Have Missed Out  On Your Stimulus Check

Tax Season Stimulus Check
Stimulus Check

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the US federal government to move in swiftly and send out a series of stimulus checks. The payments were the result of a quick realization of the desperate situation that a large section of the population was on the verge of starvation. For the first time in decades, people had just no source of income and were suddenly faced with the prospect of homelessness, and credit default, even as they struggled to put food on the table.

People who had some form of saving found that the money would not last them even weeks in the absence of supplementary sources of income. The federal government under Trump finally got its act together and sent out the first of the series of federal stimulus checks, under the CARES Act.

This $1,200 stimulus check was followed within a year by the $600 supplementary stimulus check and finally in March 2021 by the third stimulus check or the economic impact payment under the American Rescue Plan Act signed by incoming President Joe Biden.

The Rescue Plan was the most comprehensive of the three acts signed within a year. Other than the third stimulus check, it also provided funds for businesses and other organizations like hospitals and educational institutions.

Stimulus Check
stimulus check

One of the most vital and far-reaching measures under the Rescue Plan was the allocation of funds to states, local, and tribal bodies for use against the pandemic. Such funds would come into use later in 2022 for giving out inflation relief stimulus checks. These payments and tax credits came in various measures and sizes and were given out by over 20 states throughout the year as one-off payments and even as multiple stimulus checks, as with New Mexico.

Over $931 billion was given out as stimulus checks in the years of the pandemic as direct economic impact payments by the federal government. The payments started in the first quarter of 2020 immediately after the pandemic shutdown was first announced and lasted through 2021.

Other than the economic impact payments there were the extension of the weekly unemployment checks through September 6 and the expanded version of the Child Tax Credit stimulus checks that continued through December 2021.

The stimulus checks were a giant exercise in sending out direct payments to citizens bypassing the bureaucracy and the system of indirect support that slowed down the system and generally proved ineffective in the long run.

Millions Of Americans Still Eligible For Covid-19 Stimulus Checks

Throughout the pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury strived to get the COVID-19 relief stimulus checks to all low and moderate-income people. The main target was naturally those with lower incomes, the homeless, and those experiencing limited access to the internet.

Unfortunately, they were the section of people most likely to miss out on the payments. The main reason for such people staying out of the list was their absence from the records with the IRS. The IRS mainly relied on data they possessed and they were all income tax filers.

But a huge section of the population had earnings that did not entail submitting income tax returns. This section of the population naturally did not exist in the records of the tax authorities and remained outside the purview of the economic impact payments.

But relief could finally be in sight for more individuals and families who have little or no income and therefore are not required to file income tax returns. They had until November 15 to submit a simplified version of the income tax return to get their stimulus checks, especially the economic impact payment, the EITC, and the expanded Child Tax Credit stimulus check.

These three combined could turn out to be over $10,000 for a family of four and with earnings below the level required to file income taxes. Such individuals and families were required to file their income tax returns on government websites for them. These pages also have more information on the ways to complete and submit income tax returns for families and individuals with low income.

People Eligible For The Pandemic Stimulus Checks And The CTC Payments

Between the first quarter of 2020 and December 2021, the federal government sent out direct COVID-19 stimulus checks of close to a trillion dollars. Congress sanctioned the three rounds of economic impact payments that benefitted around 165 million eligible Americans. Generally, Americans with an Adjusted Gross Income below $75,000 for individuals and double that amount for married couples were eligible for all three rounds of each of the payments.

The annual Child Tax Credit payments worth $2,000 were also expanded to between $3,000 and $3,600 for 2021 under the Rescue Plan. More families were also included under this scheme as families who did not file any taxes were also eligible for the first time under the expanded version of the CTC payments.

Stimulus Check
Stimulus Checks

Also for the first time, the CTC stimulus checks were given out as advance in the tax years instead of being given out as a rebate against income tax filings. Thus people received a monthly advance for the CTC stimulus check in the tax year of 2021. But it was only 50% of the total amount. The rest they received after filing their income tax returns for 2021 in the first quarter of 2022.

People Who Missed Out On The Stimulus Checks Had This As A Remedial Measure

According to the Federal Reserve and the Census Bureau, COVID-19 advance and stimulus payments under the expanded Child Tax Credit payments reduced financial hardship and food insufficiency among families with children. for the first time, millions of children came out from the clutches of poverty and child poverty dropped for the first time in decades.

In total, the Child Tax Credit payments were responsible for about 70% or 3.1 percentage points of that 4.5 percentage point reduction in poverty between 2020 and 2021. The authorities sought out people who had never filed a tax return or were filing for the first time. Such people were also generally without any bank accounts or lacked access to banks. Families with mixed immigrant status also missed out on the payments and similar was the case for families with limited access to the internet or the homeless.