August 29, 2020

Federal benefits recipients who are owed stimulus money must act by Sept. 30 to get it


After the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized economic stimulus payments for American families, the IRS sent out more than 160 million payments via direct deposit or check. Months after those payments were received, lawmakers have been struggling to come to a consensus on how to provide more COVID-19 money and have so far failed to do so.

While the chances of every American getting more stimulus funds continue to decline as time passes with no compromise legislation, there are some people who should definitely receive more cash. That’s because they’re due part of their payment from the first check under the CARES Act.

The IRS has now made it easier for those people to gain access to the money they’re owed, but only if they act by Sept. 30. 

Are you entitled to more COVID-19 money?

The CARES Act payments were worth up to $1,200 per qualifying adult and $500 per eligible dependent under the age of 17. But not everyone got the money they were entitled to for their dependents. That’s because the IRS had to obtain information about who to send payments to from either 2018 or 2019 tax returns, or from various federal agencies, including those that send out Social Security checks or VA benefits.

For those receiving federal benefits who don’t file their taxes, the IRS was able to find out enough information to send checks even to people who didn’t submit tax returns in either 2018 or 2019. However, the SSA and VA couldn’t provide info to the IRS about which beneficiaries have qualifying dependents.

While the IRS urged those who receive benefits and don’t file taxes to use an online form to report their dependents, some people didn’t – and thus missed out on the $500 they should have received for each one. Now, the IRS is providing a second chance for people who didn’t receive their dependent money to take action. It reopened its online non-filers tool and is requesting that people complete the form ASAP to get the extra funds.

U.S. Capitol Building.

U.S. Capitol Building.GETTY IMAGES

However, the IRS will keep the form open only until Sept. 30. For those who provide details about their dependents, the extra $500 (for each eligible dependent) will be sent out by mid-October. If you have a dependent (or several) and didn’t get your money for them, you’ll want to act before this deadline to get your money ASAP.

What if you miss the Sept. 30 deadline?

If you miss the September deadline, take heart – you aren’t out of luck. You’ll be able to get your money for your dependents eventually. However, to do so, you’ll have to file a 2020 tax return. Since the COVID-19 payment was an advance on a tax credit, filing your return for this tax year will make it possible to claim the money.

Unfortunately, the IRS won’t start accepting returns for 2020 until at least January 2021 so you’ll have to wait a lot longer than October to get your money if you don’t act by Sept. 30. And chances are good that if you didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 return, you probably weren’t planning to file one for 2020, either. Since you’ll need to file a return to get your money, you’ll have to do a lot more paperwork. Completing the IRS form for non-filers is easier and gets you the money sooner, so aim to do it if you can, as it will make your life a lot simpler.


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