No payment yet? Here's what to do

Washington DC, USA, 18th, January, 2017Steven Mnuchin testifies in his confirmation hearing to become Treasury secretary
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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says the payments are providing Americans with much-needed relief.

"These payments are an integral part of our commitment to providing much-needed relief to the American people during this unprecedented time," says Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Americans have used the cash to help with savings, expenses, debt — and for more dubious purposes.

If you haven't received your money yet, the Treasury has this advice:

People who don't normally file taxes should use the IRS Non-Filers Tool and fill in some basic information so they can get their payments, which are normally based on tax returns filed for either 2018 or 2019. The tool will be available until Oct. 15, and anyone registering by that date will receive their money by the end of the year, the Treasury says.

Americans who file taxes but were expecting a payment they haven't received can claim the amount when they file their taxes for 2020. If you need your money sooner, you can call 800-919-9835 to ask about it, but the IRS warns that you may spend a lot of time on hold.

Those who received a payment they believe is incorrect should understand that the amount was based on their most recent tax return. Higher-income taxpayers were supposed to receive payments smaller than $1,200, or no money at all. If you believe your 2019 income was under the threshold and were disappointed with your payment, it may be because you haven't filed your 2019 return, or maybe it hasn't be processed yet. In either case, the IRS would have referred to your 2018 return — which might have put you over the line. Any stimulus shortfall can be claimed on your 2020 return.

Families with kids who did not receive the $500-per-child payments should claim those amounts when they submit their 2020 taxes.

Will there be more stimulus checks?

Washington D.C., USA - January 31 2014:  The U.S. Capitol building and Capitol Hill in Winter
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Congress is in no hurry to distribute more coronavirus relief.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has said the government needs to do more to help the economy avoid a deep, lasting recession, and his warning shook financial markets so hard that 30-year mortgage rates plunged as low as 2.5%.

Others also have urged Congress and the White House to provide more relief.

The Democratic-led U.S. House last month passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act — the "Heroes Act," for short.

Among other things, it would put as much as another $1,200 directly into the pockets of most Americans, including children, to a limit of $6,000 per household.

But Republicans who control the Senate haven't shown much interest in another round of stimulus checks.

Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford says things have changed since the earlier batch started going out.

“Most folks were very grateful for the help at that point," he told The Hill. "But I don’t think we should set up a situation where we’re doing a check month after month after month."

President Donald Trump and White House officials suggested last month that they were in favor of additional payments. "I think we’re going to be helping people out," the president said, "getting some money for them."

Senate Majory Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated the Senate will be looking at the topic, though probably not for another month.

About the Author

Doug Whiteman

Doug Whiteman


Doug Whiteman is the editor-in-chief of MoneyWise. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and and has been interviewed on Fox Business, CBS Radio and the syndicated TV show "First Business."

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