Stimulus Update: People Are Still Missing Stimulus Checks. Are You Owed Money?

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KEY POINTS

  • Some people are still missing stimulus relief from the federal government.
  • The Government Accountability Office has urged more outreach.
  • A tax return can be filed through Oct. 17 to claim unpaid stimulus money.


It's not too late to claim unpaid federal stimulus funds.

Recently, the Government Accountability Office released a document summarizing the federal stimulus aid that was paid out to eligible Americans during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the GAO, $931 billion in direct payments were made to people's bank accounts in order to help to cope with the economic consequences of the pandemic.

Not everyone received all the money that was due, though. And the GOA has urged more outreach because people with unclaimed funds can still request their money. In fact, the extended tax filing deadline is coming up in October and if you haven't received your stimulus checks, you may want to file a return to claim them.

Many Americans have unclaimed stimulus funds

According to the GAO, the IRS was unable to get stimulus payments to some people who were owed them in large part because there was no income requirement for the money and because the payments came in the form of refundable tax credits. This meant many low-income individuals and non-tax-filers were entitled to receive payments but the IRS had no way to contact these individuals.

Because of this, the GAO's report indicated that the agency recommends "that Treasury and IRS use available data to develop an updated estimate of total eligible individuals which they could use to better tailor and redirect their ongoing outreach and communications efforts for similar tax credits."

The GAO also went on to explain that people who were eligible for the third stimulus payment or for the expanded Child Tax Credit who did not receive either can submit a tax return by Oct. 17, 2022 to get their funds. They also have the option to request an extension and file a simplified return at the ChildTaxCredit.gov website.

Are you owed money?

You may be among the individuals the GAO is talking about in its report if you did not file a tax return for the 2020 or the 2021 tax year and you did not receive:

  • A $1,400 check per eligible adult and eligible dependent that was authorized in March of 2021 by the American Rescue Plan Act
  • An expanded Child Tax Credit worth up to $3,600 for children under age 6 and up to $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17, which was also authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act and which the IRS began distributing on a monthly basis from July to December. The monthly distributions accounted for half the credit with the remaining half claimed on 2021 tax returns.

If you are missing these funds, you should follow the GAO's recommendation and submit a 2021 tax return by Oct. 17, 2022 so you can get the money you are owed by the federal government sent to you.

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