Millions of Americans are still awaiting the arrival of their coronavirus stimulus check and are in danger of losing out on up to $1,200 if they don't get their information to the IRS ahead of several looming deadlines.
Up to 8.7 million individuals who are eligible to receive the economic impact payments have yet to receive the money due to incomplete IRS and Treasury Department records, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, Congress' auditing arm.
The watchdog found that while the Treasury Department and IRS have tried to address distribution issues involving the checks, the agencies still “lack updated information on how many eligible recipients have yet to receive these funds."
"The lack of such information could hinder outreach efforts and place potentially millions of individuals at risk of missing their payment," the report said.
For some Americans, the payments are not automatic: Individuals who normally do not file a tax return -- including homeless people, low-income people and others -- can register for the payment and must submit their information through the IRS's “Non-Filers” tool by Oct. 15.
Although recipients of Social Security benefits, survivor or disability benefits, or Railroad Retirement benefits automatically received the $1,200 even if they didn’t file a tax return, they are still required to use the non-filer tool to obtain the extra $500-per-child benefit available.
Those individuals have until Sept. 30 to enter information on your dependent children and receive the extra money.
For Americans who miss the Sept. 30 deadline, they will receive a credit when they file their tax returns next year. The money will come the same way the initial checks were sent, either through direct deposit or mailed paper checks.
If you submitted your information through the non-filers tool before May 17 and received your stimulus check but it was missing the extra $500 payment for a dependent, the IRS said it began mailing out those payments on Aug. 5.
The non-filers tool is intended for couples who earn less than $24,400 and individuals who earn less than $12,200, as well as those who are homeless. The IRS noted that whether or not individuals have earned an income or work, they’re eligible to receive the payments.
You can track your stimulus check in the mail by using the US Postal Service's Informed Delivery tool.
The money can be substantial, particularly for low-income individuals who qualify for the maximum one-time payment of $1,200 (or $2,400 for couples). The payments are tapered for higher-earners and phase out completely for individuals who earn more than $99,000.