Q: If I’m homeless, can I still get a government stimulus check?

Photo by nysenate.gov

Every day, the Affordable Housing Online team gets questions about housing, and other matters. Our Ask A Housing Expert series highlights topics that are important to low-income renters.

Today’s answer is from Housing Policy Specialist Robin Lovelace. Robin has 23 years of experience as a housing authority administrator in Indiana.

Our team got a question from Eve S. this week, who has not yet received any of the government stimulus payments that have been sent to qualified Americans.

“How can I get the check from the government if I’m living in my car?”

Eve S.

Even if you don’t have a permanent address, you may still be eligible for the payments. You may also still be eligible even if you have no income, and usually don’t file an income tax return.

If you have a Social Security Number and are not claimed by someone else as a dependent on their income tax return, you can register for the money using an online portal on the IRS website.

Now, here’s the strange part. This online portal is called the Child Tax Credit Non-Filer Sign-up Tool. However, you don’t have to be a parent to use the Non-Filer portal to sign up and get your money.

Here is what you need:

  • Your full name
  • A good mailing address
    If you are homeless, use the address of a trusted relative or friend, or a social service or homeless shelter that you frequent or even a church you attend.  First get permission from the organization, family, or friend to use their address. If you don’t have access to a computer, go to your local public library computers or ask a social service worker or homeless shelter staff person to help you use the Non-Filer Sign Up tool. You might feel more comfortable asking a trusted friend or relative to help you.
  • Email address
    If you don’t have an email address, use the email address of a trusted relative or friend, or even a social service or homeless shelter that you frequent or even a church you attend. First get permission or ask a friend or relative or a social service worker or homeless shelter staff person to help you complete the Non-Filer Sign Up tool.
  • Your date of birth
  • Valid Social Security Numbers (or other taxpayer IDs) for you and your dependents
  • Bank account number, type, and routing number (only if you have one)
  • The Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year (only if you have one)
  • A cell phone to receive an access code.

Please Note: If you don’t have a bank account, the payment will be sent through the mail in a check or a prepaid visa card. It’s important to provide a good address that you can easily travel to — like that of a trusted friend, relative or social service worker.

Here is how to request a check online:

  1. Go to the IRS Non-Filer Sign-Up tool here: Free File Fillable Forms   
  2. Complete and submit the form.
  3. Find out if you are eligible for the payment.

After submitting the form, you can track your payment here.

Don’t miss out on the money that you could be eligible to receive. If you haven’t signed up already or filed 2019 or 2020 income taxes, sign up now!

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