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IRS unable to reach millions of ‘extremely low-income’ people with stimulus checks

Brittany De Lea

The IRS has issued nearly 160 million economic impact payments to American households – but millions of additional eligible individuals have not yet received a check and are at risk of missing out on the cash altogether.

According to a new study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, about 12 million low-income individuals must give their information to the IRS by Oct. 15 – or they risk missing out on a collective $12 billion worth of financial assistance. These are people who do not typically file tax returns and therefore don’t have information on file with the tax agency. They also don’t participate in other programs, like Social Security, which means their payments weren’t sent automatically.

“An aggressive outreach program is needed at the state and local levels to inform eligible individuals, who by definition have very low incomes, that they are eligible and to help them undertake the required steps,” researchers wrote. “These funds would go to extremely low-income individuals and families at a time when need is rising due to the pandemic.”

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Researchers, who analyzed Census Bureau data, said about 75 percent of these 12 million people are SNAP or Medicaid recipients. The group is also disproportionately made up of people of color.

Congress intended the economic impact payments primarily as help for lower- and middle-class households, even phasing payments out for people with higher incomes.

Starting a campaign to make sure payments reach these individuals would also be beneficial if another stimulus payment is issued.

In order to ensure you receive the money, you must give the agency your information by using its non-filers tool.

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Meanwhile, as previously reported by FOX Business, lawmakers are fighting to make sure other individuals don’t have their payments wrongfully seized.

Some senior living facilities were requiring residents to sign over the payments as a means to pay for services. The payments are not able to be counted as income or resources for the purpose of federal benefit programs, like Medicaid.

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Lawmakers have asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to release guidance clarifying the issue for both nursing home residents and the institutions themselves.

Twenty-five state attorneys general requested that the government stipulate that the coronavirus relief payments would not be subject to garnishment by creditors and debt collectors.

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