Given the current pandemic and the millions furloughed or let go by their employers, unemployment in the US has risen to record highs. Since 1948, unemployment averaged 5.74%, by comparison in April 2020, unemployment reached an all time high of 14.7%. As a result, the CARES Act, passed by the Federal Government in March (2020), is providing citizens with a much needed lifeline: A check of as much as $1200 per individual and $500 per child. However, the process has not been completely smooth: Millions of Americans have yet to receive their check — which can add stress to an already stressful time.
Fortunately, there are plnety of things you can do to find out what’s going on.
First, it’s important to figure out if you’re eligible (most people are, but it’s the first thing to check to ensure you’re entitled to your relief check). You’re eligible you’ve filed your taxes in the last year and if any of the following apply to you:
- You’re the parent of a child less than 16 years old.
- You file as the head of a household and earn less than $146,500.
- You file jointly without children and earn less than $198,000.
- You’re single and have an adjusted gross income of $99,000 or less.
With that in mind, there are some common reasons why you may have not received your check yet. For instance, if you owe child support, then the expense will be deducted or reduced completely. If you don’t fit that category, consider your own actions. While the government has mailed millions of checks, if you’ve entered your bank account information, then it may have inadvertently delayed your check as it’ll be deposited directly. Two things to keep in mind with that however is, 1) if you misentered your bank account information or 2) if you’ve entered it on a scam site. In either case, retrace your steps to get it corrected ASAP.
Some people may just need to file additional paperwork to receive their check. In those cases, you just need to provide the IRS with the necessary information so you can receive your check.
To know where your check currently is, you can also check out the IRS Get My Payment website in order to see where in the process your check may be. This website can give you relatively detailed information on what the potential problem is and what your next steps may be.
If your check status claims it was delivered, it’s entirely possible you accidentally threw away the check or debit card which contained your payment. Many people did so, assuming, wrongly, that the check or debit card was actually a scam, fake, or solicitation.
If all else fails, try calling your local Congressional office. Every Congressperson and Senator has constituent service staff whose job is to help people with programs related to the federal government.
It is important to note that many of these offices are still operating remotely as a result of the Coronavirus, and they have likely been overwhelmed with questions about the status of the stimulus payment. However, reaching out to these offices may help you find an answer to this important question.
The point is this: If you didn’t receive your check, you have options to follow up. Indeed, personal effort and attention may be required, but make sure you connect with authorities in order to find out where your money is.