The $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package known as the CARES Act was passed back in March and provided for (among other things) direct payments of as much as $1,200 for each qualifying adult, $2,400 for married couples, and $500 per child. The majority of recipients didn't need to do anything to receive these payments, but those who receive federal benefits and don't need to file a tax return were required to submit a non-filer return in order to receive their stimulus payment. Unfortunately, not everyone got the message.
As a result, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department have reopened the registration period and are urging the following three groups to take immediate action before the Sept. 30, 2020, deadline in order to ensure they receive the stimulus payment, also called an Economic Impact Payment (EIP), for eligible children:
- Social Security beneficiaries,
- Railroad Retirement beneficiaries, and
- Veterans Affairs (VA) beneficiaries.
The IRS is asking taxpayers in these categories to register their eligible dependents no later than Sept. 30, or they may not receive their additional payment of $500 per child until they file a 2020 tax return early next year.
Taxpayers must apply for the children's payments
In a news release, the IRS said its employees have gone to great lengths to ensure delivery of more than 160 million EIPs, but are still looking for ways to help those who didn't apply for payments for their children. The agency has partnered with thousands of community groups and provided materials about the stimulus payments in more than two dozen languages.
The majority of stimulus payments were issued automatically, even if federal benefit recipients didn't file a tax return for 2018 or 2019. These payments were issued via the same channels as their regular benefits, either by check or as a direct deposit to their bank accounts.
But if the recipients didn't file a tax return, the government has no way of knowing that these people have children eligible for the $500 EIP.
Here's what to do right now
If you are a federal benefit recipient in any of the three categories listed above, the IRS is asking you to take immediate action to ensure that you still receive the stimulus payment for your children this year.
Go to the IRS.gov website and click on the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here link, then follow the directions provided and enter the following information:
- The full name and Social Security number of each family member.
- A current mailing address.
- Bank account information, including type of account (checking or savings), routing number, and account number. Those who receive benefits via Direct Express should leave this blank.
Lastly, the IRS reminds those with little or no income who are not required to file a tax return that they remain eligible to receive a stimulus payment -- but they must enter their information using the Non-Filers link above, and act by Oct. 15 in order to receive a payment this year.