Millions still need to claim their coronavirus stimulus checks

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There are millions of people who have not yet received their CARES Act stimulus check, and time is running out to claim this assistance before the October 15 deadline.

The CARES Act was passed last March to help people hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. It included stimulus checks of $1,200 for every adult, plus $500 for each child.

Called Economic Impact Payments (EIP), the stimulus checks were sent automatically to people who had filed taxes for either 2019 or 2018. Also, people who had income from Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, Veterans benefits, and Railroad Retirement automatically received their stimulus checks.

About 12 million people have not yet received a stimulus check. The federal government was not able to send checks to people who had not filed taxes or received other federal benefits in the last couple of years.

Around 9 million of these people do receive benefits administered by states, such as Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Most of these people are in low-income households, many with children, disabled, or disconnected from the workforce for some time.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) is leading a campaign to encourage more outreach from state and local governments. Because they run SNAP and Medicaid programs, states are in a good position to let people know how to get their CARES Act stimulus payment. CBPP provides a toolkit with sample flyers, phone call scripts and other resources to help government agencies and nonprofit organizations get the word out to those who may still claim their checks.

How to get your stimulus check

If you have not yet received your CARES Act EIP stimulus payment, you need to file a form with the IRS by October 15 to receive it this year. You can also file a 2020 tax return to receive it in 2021.

You can get more information from the IRS Economic Impact Information Center here. The IRS also has an EIP Hotline. Call 1-800-919-9835. Live agents are available from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday.

You can also go to This is a mobile-friendly website that uses IRS-certified volunteers to help people sign up for the stimulus payment. They can also help you file a tax return, if needed. The website will be available through October 15, 2020.

The United Way also maintains an Economic Impact Payment Helpline. Call 1-844-322-3639. The Helpline operates 24/7, with live agents available from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday. The Helpline will operate through October 15, 2020.

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