Are you at risk of missing your IRS stimulus payment?

Are you at risk of missing your IRS stimulus payment?
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Millions of people are still waiting for their IRS stimulus payment, even as interest in a second round of checks grows. In fact, as many as 12 million are at risk of not receiving their stimulus check at all even though they are eligible. Here’s what to do if you still haven’t received your IRS stimulus check.

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At risk of not getting your IRS stimulus payment?

CNBC reports that the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 12 million Americans who are eligible to receive IRS stimulus payments might not get them. The organization used Census Bureau data to come up with that number.

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The stimulus checks are meant to put more money in the pockets of low- to middle-income Americans. Those who earn up to $75,000 or $150,000 per couple receive the full $1,200 per adult, but the amount starts to phase out after that.

The IRS started sending the stimulus payments via direct deposit and the mail, using tax returns to determine how much each household would receive. The agency has sent about 159 million payments via direct deposit, paper check or prepaid debit card.

The problem is that those who are especially low income might be difficult to reach even though they are most in need of the money. The reason is because these low-income individuals don't file taxes or don't receive federal government benefits. As a result, many could end up falling through the cracks.

What to do if you don't have your stimulus check yet

If you're still waiting on your IRS stimulus check and you don't file taxes, you may have to use the agency's tool for non-filers to claim your payment. To get your payment this year, you must fill out the non-filers form by Oct. 15. If you miss that deadline, you will have to file taxes next year and claim the payment as a credit to get the money. The non-filers tool for the IRS stimulus payments can be found here.

Those who are most vulnerable to falling through the cracks include those who haven't worked for a long time. Low-income households with children and low-income adults without children are also at risk of missing out on their payments.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said the 12 million people at risk of missing their IRS stimulus checks include 9 million who didn't file taxes for 2018 or 2019 and do not receive federal benefits. This category can include people who receive financial assistance from Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which are both state aid rather than federal.

The other 3 million people didn't file tax returns and don't receive any state benefits either.

How to ensure more people get their IRS stimulus payments

The center said governors and other state officials can help ensure more people who live in their states receive their IRS stimulus payments. They can use SNAP and Medicaid to reach the 9 million people in the first category to advise them on the steps they need to take to get their stimulus checks.

Officials could reach the other 3 million people via public education efforts or other groups that provide aid to them.

How IRS stimulus payments have been sent so far

Those who should receive payments automatically include anyone who filed taxes for 2018 or 2019 and anyone who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security, Railroad Retirement benefits or Veterans Administration benefits.

If you fall into this category and don't have your IRS stimulus check, you may want to initiate a trace on your payment. You can do so by calling the IRS at 1-800-919-9835 or submitting Form 3911. If you decide to call, you should be aware that wait times are long.

Of the IRS stimulus payments that have been issued so far, 120 million were sent via direct deposit. Another 35 million paper checks were sent, and 4 million prepaid debit cards were sent.

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Michelle Jones is editor-in-chief for and has been with the site since 2012. Previously, she was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Email her at
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