Almost 645,000 Americans May Be Missing Their Third Stimulus Check

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  • As of September 2021, almost 645,000 people hadn't received a third stimulus check.
  • Some may have received a payment since then, but those who didn't must claim one on their upcoming tax return.

Take these steps if you think you're one of them.

In March 2021, the U.S. economy wasn't in the best shape. Unemployment was still rampant and many COVID-19 restrictions were still in place due to vaccines not yet being widely available.

Recognizing that many Americans were struggling with their bills, lawmakers approved a third round of stimulus checks that began hitting Americans' bank accounts that month. But not everyone who was entitled to a stimulus payment received it in a timely fashion.

In fact, a recent report reveals almost 645,000 people who were entitled to a stimulus payment had not gotten one as of September 2021. And some of those people may be eligible for a payment now.

An imperfect system

Once the American Rescue Plan, which called for a third round of stimulus checks, was signed into law, the IRS got busy sending out payments. But the IRS could only rely on the data it had from previous years' tax returns to determine who was eligible for that money.

Non-filers (meaning, those not required to file a tax return) had an opportunity to register for a stimulus. But not everyone did. And so all told, a recent report by the U.S. Department of the Treasury determined that nearly 645,000 people did not receive that money by September 2021 -- six months after stimulus checks started going out.

Now to be fair, it's possible some of those 645,000 people have gotten paid since September. But the total number of people who are still without that money could be substantial.

On a positive note, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (which is basically a watchdog unit within the Department of the Treasury) found the IRS managed to correctly issue payments to almost 167 million people as of mid-September, accounting for almost 99.5% of the total number of Americans eligible for a stimulus. At the same time, missing stimulus payments as of mid-September amounted to $1.6 billion.

How to claim a stimulus payment now

If you never received a third stimulus check, it's not too late to get your money. But to get your payment, you'll need to file a 2021 tax return and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.

This year, taxes are due on April 18. If you need help filing a tax return, you may be entitled to no-cost assistance.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, for example, is designed to help low-income households with taxes. You may be eligible if you're a lower earner or if you have difficulty with the English language. There's also the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program, which is designed for filers aged 60 and older.

If you think you're due a stimulus from last year, that's money you really don't want to pass up. These days, living costs are soaring due to general inflation, while the Ukraine conflict has sent gas prices upward. Getting a $1,400 windfall could spell the difference between making ends meet and struggling financially during these difficult times.

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