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Coronavirus US: Why haven't I got a stimulus check?

Close to 90 million people have received their stimulus payments as of April 28 according to the Internal Revenue Service but millions more are still waiting.

Coronavirus US: Why haven't I got a stimulus check?
Al Drago / POOL EFE

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) started sending the first round of stimulus checks to millions of American’s who need economic help during the coronavirus pandemic in mid-April. According to the IRS, close to 90 million people already received that payment but there are more that are still waiting for that check.

The people who already received their $1,200 stimulus payment can use it as they see fit while the country closes in on re-opening the economy at the beginning of May. The IRS distributed 88.1 million checks and they were distributed on April 17 and paid out $157.96 billion, according to statistics released April 24.

So that is more than half of the $290 billion put aside for direct payment to individuals in the $2.2 trillion bill called the CARES Act. The IRS started mailing paper checks during the week of April 20, according to a timeline from the House Ways and Means Committee.

The IRS is slated to put approximately 5 million checks in the mail each week for up to 20 weeks. The agency started mailing checks to the people who have the smallest incomes first, the timeline indicated.

Reasons why you haven’t received the payment

Millions of Americans are still waiting for the stimulus payment and with April coming to an end it is time to pay bills for the majority of them. One reason why you haven’t received the payment is because the IRS doesn’t have your bank account information and approximately 14 million Americans don’t have one.

One way to solve this problem is by going to your local bank or online to your bank of choice and opening a bank account so you can get the stimulus payment faster. After opening a bank account, consumers can submit their banking information to the IRS. If they don’t file tax returns (some people don’t make enough money to file), they’ll need to submit the account information via an IRS website for people who don’t file tax returns.

Another reason is that it could be that the agency isn’t done processing the person’s 2019 return. It could also be that the person typically doesn’t file a tax return and has submitted non-filer information via the IRS web portal, which is still being processed.

“We update Get My Payment data once per day, overnight so there is no need to check more often,” the IRS says on its website. A Spanish language version of “Get My Payment” will be available in a couple of weeks, according to the IRS.

Also someone else could be claiming you as a dependent and therefore you won’t receive any payment during the outbreak. For example, some young adults might be missing out on stimulus money because their parents have claimed them as dependents.

When it comes to stimulus checks, the IRS counts a dependent as age 17 and under. But if the IRS is only reviewing a 2018 return, it could be looking back at a point in time when someone was a high-school senior when now they’re in college.

Some national tax preparers offer advances on a client’s refund, with the money loaded onto a debit card. Yet that could mean the IRS might not be putting the stimulus money in the right account.

Your immigration status could be a factor

The government is paying the stimulus checks to U.S. citizens. The checks are also going to certain categories of non–U.S. citizens. This includes “legal permanent residents,” also known as green-card holders, according to the IRS.

But if someone still has a green-card application pending, they may not be getting a stimulus check, at least not any time soon, according to Washington, D.C., immigration lawyer Allen Orr. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field offices, which administer in-person interviews before issuing green cards, closed temporarily in March because of the pandemic. As of now, offices are closed until June 3, USCIS said.