by Christy Bieber | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on Jan. 7, 2021
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As you wait for your $600 check, keep your eye on efforts to provide even more relief.
After the recent $900 billion coronavirus relief bill authorized stimulus payments of $600 per adult and dependent child, the IRS sprang into action to deliver the money by a Jan. 15 deadline. Within a week of the president's signing of the stimulus legislation, the agency had delivered most of the payments already, depositing $112 billion into people's bank accounts.
Unfortunately, not everyone has received their payments yet and some people -- including those whose payments were issued to inactive bank accounts -- will have to file tax returns before they see their money.
Delivery challenges aren't the only issue, though. A number of political leaders and financial experts, including investor Mark Cuban, have made clear this money is simply not enough to help people during these difficult times. But there's good news for Americans that need more -- this probably won't be the last COVID-19 payment you'll see.
For those in need of additional relief, there could actually be several possible options to get more money, depending on where you live.
In response to what they consider to be a lackluster and inadequate federal response, a growing number of state officials are proposing providing more relief to their citizens via state-funded stimulus checks.
This includes California Governor Gavin Newsom, who is arguing for $600 state-funded checks for low-income residents as well as for undocumented immigrants who were excluded from receiving the federal funds. Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot has also proposed the state borrow $1 billion from its rainy day reserves to provide $2,000 direct payments to residents with incomes under $50,000, with partial payments available to individuals with up to $100,000 in income.
If your state isn't among those considering offering relief on the local level, you can still take heart in the fact that a third check is likely going to be one of the first issues the new Congress tackles.
President-elect Joe Biden pledged that $2,000 checks would be a priority for his administration if Georgia delivered a victory to two Democrats running for Senate in a runoff election. Both of the candidates did end up winning, delivering control of the Senate to the Democrats and considerably upping the odds of another payment.
And Chuck Schumer, who is likely to become the new Majority Leader as control of the Senate shifts to the left, has made clear the party intends to deliver on their promises, announcing at a Wednesday press conference "One of the first things that I want to do when our new senators are seated is to deliver the $2,000 checks to American families."
It will take time for any bill to move through the legislative process to provide the promised payments. But as you watch for signs from federal or state lawmakers that more aid is coming, you can also keep tabs on the delivery of your $600 check that was already made available. The IRS has a Get My Payment website that allows you to track the status of its arrival.
The good news is, most people who still haven't received their funds won't have to do anything more to get them besides sit back and wait for their direct deposit, paper check, or debit card.
However, if you see "Payment Status #2 -- Not Available" on the Get My Payment tool, you will need to file a 2020 tax return to claim your funds. You can also file a return if you didn't get the first stimulus check that the CARES Act had authorized or if your stimulus payment was for an incorrect amount.
The IRS will begin accepting tax returns some time at the end of January for the 2020 year, so if you need to file to get your money, start preparing now so you're ready to submit ASAP and get the coronavirus relief money you've been promised.
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