The third stimulus program rollout — much like the first and the second last year — has a flip side.
For some, the extra cash that they spotted in their bank accounts around March 17 or March 23 is already long gone, spent on old bills or new things for the house or the kids.
For others, the frustration of not being the first in line — or not even knowing when to expect their money — builds and builds.
But some more news on those Economic Impact Payments, or that stimulus cash, was released Tuesday.
Another round of stimulus payments will be issued this weekend to Social Security recipients and other federal beneficiaries who do not normally file a tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury Department.
The projection, according to the IRS, is that the majority of these payments would be sent electronically and received on the official payment date of April 7.
The stimulus cash would be issued through direct deposits and payments to existing Direct Express cards.
But there could be a longer delay for some: “The IRS continues to review data received for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit recipients and expects to determine a payment date and provide more details soon.” Some in this group could have to wait until mid-April for stimulus money.
The IRS said it received the necessary data from the Social Security Administration on March 25.
“The IRS began the multistep process to review, validate and test tens of millions of records to ensure eligibility and proper calculation of Economic Impact Payments.”
If no additional issues arise, the IRS expects to complete that work and to begin processing these payment files at the end of this week.
So people who have been upset that they didn’t get money in the first two batches of payments, which began in mid-March, now have some relief knowing when the money should arrive.
They likely won’t be happy, though, that they’ll need to wait another week.
After a recent column on these delays, I received more than 380 emails from readers all across the country who had complaints and concerns about the latest stimulus rollout, including questions on why struggling, vulnerable households and many seniors had yet to receive stimulus checks as of late March.
What many cannot understand is why their Social Security or other government payments arrive via direct deposit but they’ve not yet seen stimulus money.
Some are disabled. Some said they’re as “broke as a dog.” One canceled a doctor’s appointment because of an overstretched budget. Most want some answers — and their money.
“What’s the holdup on the SSA stimulus package?” one simply emailed.
A few people who emailed offered some signs of hope. One man in Ohio suggested that readers check a variety of places where the money could have possibly shown up already.
“They need to check the account that gets their SSA direct deposit,” wrote Brian Fialko, of Avon, Ohio.
He said his first two stimulus payments, one issued last year and another early in 2021, were issued by check.
“The third I just learned was auto deposit to the account my SSA goes to,” Fialko said.
“I have never filed a tax return showing bank info, they must have gotten it with benefit info from SSA.”
The third Economic Impact Payment program offers up to $1,400 each for those who qualify. Money began hitting many bank accounts via direct deposit on March 17. Others have begun receiving paper checks or plastic prepaid Visa cards, issued by MetaBank.
The IRS noted Tuesday that many federal beneficiaries who filed 2019 or 2020 returns or used the Non-Filers tool last year were issued Economic Impact Payments, if eligible, during the last three weeks.
The update Tuesday applies to Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries who did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return or did not use the Non-Filers tool, the IRS said.
Currently, the IRS estimates that Economic Impact Payments for VA beneficiaries who do not regularly file tax returns could be disbursed by mid-April. VA beneficiary payment information will be available in the Get My Payment tool at a future date.
The IRS also noted: “The Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov will not be updated until the weekend of April 3-4 with information for federal beneficiaries expecting payments next week.”
The IRS has promoted its Get My Payment Tool at IRS.gov as a way for consumers to track down their stimulus payments.
But many who wrote me in March have complained once again that the Get My Payment tool at IRS.gov hasn’t worked for them. They say it often says no payment is pending when the readers are certain that they are owed stimulus cash. In other cases, the site is down and consumers are unable to access it.
The IRS has said it will automatically send a third payment to people who didn’t file a federal income tax return but receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income or Veterans Affairs benefits. Social Security and other federal beneficiaries will generally receive this third payment the same way as their regular benefits, according to the IRS.
It could be necessary for some government beneficiaries to file a 2020 federal income tax return to receive stimulus money that applies to others in a family, such as a qualifying dependent or a spouse, according to the IRS.
The IRS notes: “If you don’t normally file a tax return but you need to file a federal tax return for 2020 and have no income or income of $72,000 or less, you can file your Federal tax return electronically for free through the IRS Free File Program.” See IRS.gov for Free File.
The latest IRS update isn’t exactly the news many want to hear. They were hoping the money was sent yesterday or earlier. Now, though, more clarity on when to expect some money is at least available.
Susan Tompor is the personal finance columnist for the Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.