In Broward County, Florida, volunteer Richard Campillo spearheaded efforts that helped 220 homeless register online by setting up a computer lab at a meal center. But only about 30% of those have actually received the money, he said.
There are many reasons this could be, but the government’s online tool doesn’t usually explain why a payment is pending. It could take a phone call to the Internal Revenue Service’s hotline to find out why and even then, Campillo said, the agency still couldn’t verify one person’s identity.
“I think the IRS actually did a very good job. But now they have to finish the fight,” he said.
Some people are simply ineligible under the law, like those who were claimed as a dependent on a family member’s tax returns. Undocumented immigrants who don’t have Social Security numbers but pay Uncle Sam using a taxpayer identification number are also excluded from the payments, as well as their spouses.
Some bumps in earlier payouts
“It’s clear the IRS was not equipped to meet this moment,” said Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney at a House Oversight hearing last month.
She said some of her constituents were still waiting for the money the government owed them and blamed Republicans in Congress for slashing the agency’s budget over the years.
Still, a government oversight report found that the Internal Revenue Service calculated 98% of the payments it made through June correctly.
One more chance at tax-filing season
Those who miss the November 21 deadline can still get their stimulus money next year after they file their 2020 tax returns — but that would be an entire year after Congress established the program.
If a new stimulus bill includes a second round of payments, lawmakers have a chance to tweak the program. There’s evidence that state governments have information on about 75% of those at risk of missing the first round of payments because they either participate in SNAP or Medicaid, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. But Congress didn’t specify that data from those programs could be used the first time around.