You wouldn’t think it would be so hard, but it is. Treasury is still trying to get money to an estimated 8 million Americans that didn’t receive the first $1,200 stimulus checks from the CARES Act which are likely the same people left out of the $600 checks that were issued in December.
This came after Treasury decided not to provide a web site enabling users of existing prepaid cards to register for the funds, instead awarding a prepaid delivery contract to Visa and First Data much to the annoyance of other prepaid issuers:
“That’s because the $600 checks authorized by Congress last month expanded eligibility to include families with mixed-status households, where only one spouse has a Social Security number. Now, family members including spouses and children who hold Social Security numbers are eligible for those payments. That applies retroactively to the $1,200 CARES Act checks.
“I am hopeful that the IRS will revamp the non-filer portal for this year,” Jacoby said. “It’s certainly easier than filing a tax return.”
The tool could be made more user-friendly, such as adding compatibility for mobile phones and making it easier for non-English speakers, she said.
In a statement released on Friday, the Treasury Department said it plans to add simple options for people who have not filed tax returns, including those who do not have internet access or do not speak English.
The agency also said it plans to reach out to people regarding “hundreds of thousands” of unused $1,200 checks or debit cards that were sent. The Treasury Department and IRS will either reissue payments or encourage those affected to claim the money on their 2020 tax returns.
In addition, the agency plans to evaluate where more households have not received the money in order to better target their outreach to affected ZIP codes.
“As part of this new effort, Treasury will build on that work done to date – incorporating lessons learned over the past year – to reach households who either were not issued payments or who otherwise were unable to access their funds,” the agency said in a statement.”
Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group