In March, Congress passed the $2.6 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Much of that money went towards stimulus checks for millions of Americans. Using previous years' tax information, the majority of those checks went out automatically to people who met the criteria for them, however, in April, the Treasury Department discovered there were about 14 million eligible recipients who do not normally file tax returns or get federal benefits that needed to submit personal information to get their money.
In July, the Treasury extended the deadline to the end of September for those people to use a tool on the IRS' website and apply for payments. According to a report from Congress' auditing arm, the Government Accountability Office, since April, 5.3 million people of the 14 million that needed to, did go to the IRS site and submit their info, but that means that there are still 8.7 million Americans who didn't, and they now risk losing out on their $1,200 stimulus check as the deadline to apply looms.
The 371-page report from the GAO calls out the Treasury Department and IRS for not updating eligible recipients, noting, "Without an updated estimate, the Treasury, the IRS, other federal agencies and IRS' outreach partners are limited in their ability to appropriately scale and target outreach and communication efforts to individuals who may be eligible for a payment." Making matters worse, the GAO reports that many of the recipients are likely "very low-income" and in most need of the check.
According to Forbes, the 8.7 million unclaimed checks amount to over 10 billion dollars. Meanwhile, Congress is still in a stalemate when it comes to another coronavirus relief package that may or may not include another stimulus check. It is currently unlikely a second stimulus check will happen before the election.
If you didn't get a stimulus check, to see if you are one of the 8.7 million Americans still eligible for it, head here.
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