Millions of Americans are still eligible for stimulus checks, and you have until November 21 to claim yours

Millions of Americans are still eligible for stimulus checks, and you have until November 21 to claim yours
The IRS is asking non-filers to register for a payment by October 15.Associated Press
  • The IRS has a free online tool that people who don't normally file taxes can use to claim a stimulus payment.
  • The tool is available to people who didn't have a tax liability in 2018 or 2019 and have not yet received their Economic Impact Payment (aka stimulus check).
  • The deadline to register for a payment is November 21, 2020.
  • The tool asks for payment information, Social Security number, mailing address, date of birth, and number of qualifying children in order to create and submit a simple tax return.

The IRS deadline to register for a stimulus check is coming up on November 21, and millions of people are still eligible.

Most Americans eligible for an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) authorized under the CARES Act have already received theirs. But the IRS is still trying to reach millions of people who don't earn enough money to file a tax return, but otherwise qualify for a payment.

The agency mailed about 9 million notices in September, reminding non-filers to use a free online tool — which is available in English and Spanish and can be found here — to claim their payment. The letter stated that the deadline to register was October 15. It was later pushed back five weeks, to November 21.
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The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates a higher number of eligible non-filers — 12 million — 9 million of whom participate in SNAP or Medicaid. According to the CBPP, the majority of these eligible non-filers are people of color. An estimated 27% of the 9 million individuals are African American, and another 19% are Latino. The CBPP writes that this is because "they are likelier to have lower incomes due to historical racism and ongoing bias and discrimination."

Anyone with income below $12,200 as an individual or $24,400 as a married couple has no tax liability and isn't required to file a return. The IRS said someone is "likely eligible" for a stimulus payment if they are a US citizen or resident alien, have a work-eligible Social Security number, and aren't claimed on another person's tax return.

The tool asks for payment information, Social Security number, mailing address, date of birth, and number of qualifying children in order to create and submit a simple tax return (Form 1040). The IRS will use the information to determine the size and method of payment for each person.
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The IRS delivers payments by direct deposit much faster than mailing paper checks. If you don't provide bank information, the IRS will mail a check.

Find the IRS tool here »

Most people received their stimulus payments automatically

The majority of stimulus check recipients didn't need to register or sign up for a stimulus payment, with the exception of non-filers. Back in April, the IRS and Treasury Department released its free online tool to help get stimulus payments to people who don't normally file taxes but have a Social Security number and are not claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer. Stimulus payments are nontaxable and worth $1,200 for individuals earning less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000, plus an additional $500 per qualifying child.
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Social Security retirement and disability recipients, railroad retirees, Veterans Affairs beneficiaries, and people on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) automatically had stimulus payments sent to the address or bank account where they receive their benefits, even if they haven't filed a tax return in the last two years.

In most cases, taxpayers who filed returns in 2018 and 2019 were also automatically paid — via either check or direct deposit — based on the adjusted gross income reported on their latest tax return. These filers were given the opportunity to provide direct-deposit information using the "Get My Payment" tool to speed up their payment.

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