IRS still processing stimulus checks for low-income Americans - here's why

Tens of millions of low-income Americans are still waiting for their stimulus check to arrive weeks after President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Although the Social Security Administration sent the IRS missing files that have been delaying payments for about 30 million people on Thursday, some Social Security recipients say they have not yet received the direct cash payments worth up to $1,400.

House Democrats say that Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul – who was nominated by former President Donald Trump – is to blame for the delays, which "defied congressional intent and imposed needless anxiety and pain on taxpayers."

The Democrats demanded last week that the IRS and Social Security Administration accelerate the distribution of checks to individuals who are not required to file tax returns, many of whom are low-income, by turning over the necessary information within 24 hours so the IRS could process the payments.


But Saul, in a statement Thursday night, attributed the delay to a lack of funding and political red tape that prevented the administration from working with the Treasury Department or IRS before the American Rescue Plan was passed.

"Once we were free to move forward, we aggressively worked with Treasury and IRS to issue payments," he said.

The Social Security Administration said it began working with the IRS on March 17 to transfer the necessary files. It successfully delivered the information to the agency Friday morning, clearing the way for the payments to go to the beneficiaries.

The House committee said the IRS "must now take quick action to deliver" the checks.

Additional tranches of checks will be sent out in the coming weeks, the IRS said, although it did not provide more guidance about when Americans can expect to see the money land in their bank accounts.

Individuals with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less, and couples with an adjusted gross income of $150,000 or less, are eligible to receive the fully promised $1,400.

Americans who earn more than the threshold line will still receive a partial check. But payments are cut off for individuals who earn $80,000 a year or more and couples who earn $160,000 a year or more. For those filing as head of household, the phaseout begins at $112,500 and tapers off at $120,000.

You can check the status of the payment using the IRS’s Get My Payment tool. The first payments will go to Americans with direct deposit set up, the IRS said. After that, the agency will mail paper checks and pre-paid debit cards to anyone who qualifies for the money.

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