Personal Finance

35 million stimulus checks are still outstanding. What you need to know if you're waiting for your money

Key Points
  • The U.S. government has sent out 159 million stimulus checks to individuals and families to date.
  • But there are an estimated 30 million to 35 million payments that have not yet been issued.
  • Here are the groups of people who are still waiting and what you can expect if you still haven't received your money.
Audrey Saracco / EyeEm

The U.S. government has sent 159 million stimulus checks to Americans.

But there are still an estimated 30 million to 35 million payments yet to be issued, according to new data on the progress of the payments from the House Ways and Means Committee.

The stimulus checks — up to $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per married couple, as well as $500 per child under 17 — were authorized by Congress with the CARES Act.

The money targets low- to middle-income individuals and families to help them with the financial pressures caused by the coronavirus and subsequent economic shutdown.

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The government has been in the process of getting that money to Americans since April.

"The Trump Administration has delivered 159 million economic impact payments worth more than $267 billion to Americans in record time," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement last week.

The last time the government sent out stimulus money, it took more than two months to send out 800,000 payments, the Treasury Department noted.

Who has not received the money

Yet many people are still checking their bank accounts and mailboxes for their money.

While the government initially estimated there would be 171 million total payments, the House Ways and Means Committee said that "seems low," considering the size of the groups eligible for the payments.

Now, there are an estimated 30 million to 35 million payments that still have to go out, the committee said.

Of those payments, there are several groups still waiting for which the Treasury Department should have all the information it needs to get the money due to those individuals and families.

Treasury Department says it sent 159 million payments worth more than $267 billion in Covid-19 relief

That includes 13 million to 18 million people who filed tax returns and who are below the income thresholds outlined in the CARES Act; 7.5 million recipients of Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits who do not file tax returns; and millions who receive Supplemental Security Income or Veterans Administration benefits who do not file tax returns.

There is one other group still waiting for checks for whom the Treasury Department does not necessarily have information. That includes 10.7 million people who do not file tax returns and who do not receive federal government benefits.

The IRS still has an estimated 4.7 million paper tax returns to process. Some of those returns could be for first-time filers who qualify for stimulus checks, the House Ways and Means Committee noted.

Steps to take next

If you haven't received your stimulus check and do not file tax returns, you must use the government's non-filer tool online in order to receive your money. The deadline to enter your information in order to receive the money this year is Oct. 15.

If you typically file tax returns and have not yet received your stimulus check, you can try calling the IRS hotline at 800-919-9835. If you do not receive your money this year, you will receive it when you file your 2020 tax return next year.

You will also be able to claim additional money that was not included in your check when you file your 2020 tax return. That includes families who have not received the $500 payments for their dependents.

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