Still waiting on stimulus cash? What you may need to do before October

Hard to reach households still need first stimulus money

Still waiting on stimulus cash? What you may need to do before October

Many lower income households who are still wondering why they didn't get a stimulus check of $1,200 or more are getting another second chance.

The Internal Revenue Service is extending what had been an Oct. 15 deadline until Nov. 21 for those who typically don't file a tax return to get their information to the IRS.

The IRS is trying to connect with people who typically don't file a tax return and have not received a stimulus check or Economic Impact Payment yet. Those stimulus payments began rolling out in April but millions did not get money yet. 

Who needs to do extra work to get money? 

The goal is to reach out to homeless people, people who have little or no income and others in underserved communities who might qualify for a stimulus payment.

We're often talking about consumers with incomes typically below $24,400 for married couples, and $12,200 for singles who could not be claimed as a dependent by someone else. 

“We have remained especially focused on getting payments out to people who are homeless, who don’t normally have a return filing obligation, or who otherwise live their life outside normal lines of communication,” according to testimony given by Charles Rettig, the IRS commissioner, to a House subcommittee on Oct. 7. 

The IRS, Rettig said, has been working to reach out to “many lower-income, military,

veterans, retired, older, limited English proficient, and homeless communities

around the country.” 

And the IRS is asking for assistance from hundreds of local community groups and

religious organizations as part of its outreach.

IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig testifies before a House Committee on Oversight and Reform subcommittee on Oct. 7 following a report from The New York Times about President Donald Trump's tax returns. Rettig also discusses stimulus payments. (Photo: TONI L. SANDYS, POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

What step needs to be taken? 

The IRS wants people to supply information via its online tool called “Non-filers Enter Info Here” at You'd be able to request direct deposit of the money or receive a paper check. 

Beginning two weeks after registering, people can track the status of their payment using the Get My Payment tool at

Consumers continue to be warned to avoid any of these COVID-19-related scams. You don't want to give a stranger your banking information if they call pretending that they can get your stimulus payment for you. 

The IRS is not going to “call, text, email, or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information — even related to the economic impact payments.”

The IRS notes that if the agency does show up at your doorstep it is usually after you’ve received many letters in the mail.

More: October deadline for stimulus cash looms for 9 million

More: Some people are still waiting for a stimulus check to arrive. What's the holdup?

More: Wait, it's September and you still haven't received your tax refund? Here's why

The IRS advises that the non-filer tool can be used if you did not file a 2019 federal tax return, get an Economic Impact Payment, or register by using the IRS tool already for an Economic Impact Payment.

What the IRS did not extend: “For taxpayers who requested an extension of time to file their 2019 tax return, that deadline date remains Oct. 15,” according to the IRS notice.

What does it mean if I got a letter? 

The IRS sent nearly 9 million letters in September to people who might be eligible for the stimulus money but did not file a tax return in or use the non-filer tool.

The letters went out an IRS internal analysis of people who don't typically have a tax return filing requirement but had received forms W-2, 1099s and other third-party statements.

“We sent letters so recipients could apply for EIPs since we lack certain information, such as whether they became a dependent in 2020, and may actually be ineligible to receive an EIP,” Rettig said. 

The IRS said more than 6.7 million individuals have provided their information using the non-filer tool.

The stimulus payment program was designed as an emergency effort to help families financially during the economic fallout triggered by shutdowns across the country to stem the spread of the coronavirus. 

Many taxpayers who supplied direct deposit information when filing their 2019 tax returns electronically saw that stimulus money early on in April and May. Others waited into June and later to receive money. 

Most people did not need to do anything to receive their stimulus checks, though the timeline for receiving the money did vary for different groups of taxpayers. 

“So far, more than 160 million payments totaling more than $270 billion have been

delivered, most by direct deposit and some by paper check or prepaid debit card,” Rettig said in testimony in October. 

Rettig noted that the IRS worked cooperatively with the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs and other government agencies to “pull more information into our systems so that we could send payments to these groups of people without requiring them to file a return or take any other action.” 

Many advocacy groups had been concerned during the early talks of the stimulus package about how those with the greatest need might be left out if they're not regular tax filers.

Now, there are a few more weeks to get that message out to millions. 

Contact Susan Tompor: Follow her on @tompor. To subscribe, please go to Read more on business and sign up for our business newsletter.

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Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payments

Still waiting on stimulus cash? What you may need to do before October

The government is sending “stimulus” payments to most taxpayers and their families because the Coronavirus caused so many people to lose their income. These payments are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. People also call these payments, “Economic Impact” or “Recovery” payments. These are all different names for the same payment.

Second Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payment

On December 21, 2020 Congress agreed to a another payment:

  • $600 for people who qualify, 
  • $600 for each dependent child who qualifies, and
  • $1,200 for married couples filing jointly who qualify.

President Trump signed the bill into law on December 27, 2020.

Filing as an individual: To get the latest $600 stimulus payment you must have made less than $75,000 in 2019 and meet the same qualifications as for the first stimulus payment. See Do I qualify for a payment?

Filing jointly as a couple: If you are a couple and you file your taxes 'married filing jointly,' you can get $1,200 if your combined income  was less than $150,000 in 2019.
If only one of you has a Social Security Number and the other does not, you can qualify for the stimulus payments for one person.

The government says the second payments started going out at the end of 2020. Just before, the payment will be deposited directly into your bank account if you have information on file with the IRS.

If you do not get the payments, you can file for a Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 federal income taxes. You should be able to check the status of your payment on the IRS Get My Payment webpage. 

When you file your 2020 taxes you can ask for a rebate  to claim both the first and second stimulus payments if you never got them. Wait until you have all the forms W-2s and 1099s you need before you file. The deadline, as usual is April 15.

If you apply for an extension by April 15, you can push the filing deadline to October 15, 2021.

 As long as you get a Social Security Number by October 15, 2021, and your income is low enough, you can file a tax return for 2020 and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit for both the first and second stimulus payments. 

Find a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) site near you, to get free help with your taxes.

Do I qualify for a payment?

You qualify for the stimulus payments if:

  • You file a tax return for 2020, 2019 or 2018. You have until April 15, 2021 to mail in your your 2020 tax return. Or,
  • You receive SSI, Social Security or railroad retiree benefits and are not required to file a tax return. Or
  • You have a low income and you file the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info online on the IRS website The deadline to register was November 21, 2020.  If you missed the deadline, you may still be able to get the payment when you file your 2020 taxes. See the IRS Economic Payment Information Center 


  1. You must have a social security number.
  2. You cannot be a dependent on someone else’s tax form, and
  3. Your income must be below the limits for your filing status. See How much will I get?

How much is the first stimulus payment?

If you qualify, your payment is:

  • $1,200 if you file taxes as an individual and your “adjusted gross income” (AGI) is $75,000 or less. Find your AGI on line 7 of your 2018 1040 income tax form, or line 8 of your 2019 1040 tax form.
  • $1,200 if you file taxes as head of household and your “adjusted gross income” (AGI) is $112,500, or less.
  • $2,400 if you file taxes jointly as a married couple, you both have Social Security Numbers, and your  adjusted gross income is $150,000 or less.

If your income is higher you will get a lower payment or no payment. See the IRS information for more details.

What about money for my children?

In the first stimulus payment
You also get $500 for each dependent, “qualifying child” 16 or under. The same rules used for the Child Tax Credit decide who is a qualifying child for the payment.

The $500 payments for children are the number of children you reported on your last tax form for 2018, 2019 or 2020.

If you have a dependent child who is age 17 or over, you will not get the extra $500 for them.

Try the Washington Post’s Stimulus Payment Calculator to see how much you might get.

If your parents can claim you as a dependent on their tax return, you do not qualify for a stimulus payment.

In the second stimulus payment
You will get $600 for each “qualifying child” 16 or under.

Does the stimulus payment count as income or assets for my public benefits?

The stimulus payment will not count as income for MassHealth, Medicare, SSI, TAFDC, SNAP, federal housing or any other benefit funded by the federal government.

The payment will not count as an asset for 12 months for MassHealth, Medicare, SSI, TAFDC, SNAP, federal housing or any other benefit funded by the federal government. If you still have money left over after 12 months, it might count then.

Benefit programs funded only by Massachusetts have not announced their rules for the stimulus payment.  We will update this information when we learn more.

Do I need to have a social security number to get a payment?

Yes. If you are married filing jointly, at least one of you must have SSN. If you both have a Social Security Number and you qualify, you can get up to $2,400.

If only one of you has a Social Security Number, you only qualify for up $1,200. An individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) is not enough.

Any children you claim as dependents for the recovery payment must have a Social Security Number. 

There are two exceptions:

  • an adopted child can have an adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN) instead of a Social Security number.
  • for married members of the U.S. armed forces, only one spouse needs to have a Social Security number.

Will the IRS call me to ask me any questions after I file my taxes or fill out the online form?

No! The IRS will not call you to ask for any of your personal information or your bank account. Do not give this information out to anyone who calls you. This is a scam.


Golden State Stimulus

Still waiting on stimulus cash? What you may need to do before October

California will provide the Golden Status Stimulus payment to families and people who qualify. This is a one-time $600 or $1,200 payment per tax return. You may receive this payment if you receive the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) or file with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

The Golden State Stimulus aims to:

  • Support low-income Californians
  • Help those facing a hardship due to COVID-19

For most Californians who qualify, you don’t need to do anything to receive the stimulus payment.

Check if you qualify for the Golden State Stimulus

To qualify, you must:

  • Have filed your 2020 taxes
  • Be either:
    • A CalEITC recipient
    • An ITIN filer who made $75,000 or less (total CA AGI)
  • Live in California for more than half of the 2020 tax year
  • Be a California resident on the date payment is issued
  • Not be eligible to be claimed as a dependent

You must include your ITIN on your tax return. Your ITIN cannot be pending. Wait to file your tax return until you have your ITIN. You are eligible for the GSS if you file on or before October 15.

Qualify for CalEITC

To qualify for CalEITC, you must:

  • Have taxable earned income up to $30,000
  • Not use “married/RDP filing separately” if married or RDP
  • Meet all other qualifications

Visit CalEITC for more qualifications and other information.

To make sure you receive your payment, file your 2020 tax return by October 15, 2021.

What you'll receive

If you meet these qualifications, you may receive either:

  • A one-time $600 payment
  • A one-time $1,200 payment

The payment will be by direct deposit or check in the mail per tax return.

Use the table below to determine your amount.

Your stimulus amount On your 2020 tax return… Stimulus amount
You are a CalEITC recipient$600
  • Are a CalEITC recipient;
  • File with an ITIN; and
  • Made $75,000 or less (total CA AGI)
You are not a CalEITC recipient, but you:
  • File with an ITIN and
  • Made $75,000 or less (total CA AGI)
You file a joint return and:
  • At least one of you files with an ITIN
  • Made $75,000 or less (total CA AGI)
You file a joint return and:
  • You are a CalEITC recipient
  • At least one of you files with an ITIN
  • Made $75,000 or less (total CA AGI)

Typically, you'll receive this payment using the refund option you selected on your tax return. If you received an advanced refund through your tax service provider, or paid your tax preparation fees using your refund, you'll receive your payment by check in the mail.

When you'll receive your payment

We will issue stimulus payments monthly after eligible 2020 tax returns are processed.

  • Direct deposits: Allow up to 45 days
  • Paper checks: Allow up to 60 days

Payments are anticipated to begin mid-April 2021.

Stimulus payment deadline

To make sure you receive your payment, file your 2020 tax returns by October 15, 2021.

How to get your payment

If you qualify, or think you may qualify, for the Golden State stimulus payment you need to file your 2020 tax return. If you qualify for CalEITC, make sure you claim it on your return.

Use the table below to help guide you.

Scenarios for claiming the Golden State Stimulus Scenario What to do
You already filed your 2020 taxes and received a CalEITC refund.You don't need to do anything. You will receive your payment by direct deposit or paper check.
You filed your 2020 taxes with your ITIN and made $75,000 or less (total CA AGI).You don't need to do anything. You will receive your payment by direct deposit or paper check.
You filed your 2020 taxes but did not claim CalEITC and you're eligible for CalEITC.Amend your 2020 tax return immediately.
You will file a 2020 tax return but will not claim CalEITC.You may still be eligible for the stimulus payment for 2020 if you (or your spouse):
  • File with an ITIN and
  • Made $75,000 or less (total CA AGI)

Be sure to file your 2020 tax return no later than October 15, 2021.

Check stimulus payment status

We’ve expedited the delivery of your payment so you can receive it as quickly as possible. Refer to when you’ll receive your payment. Allow 45 days beyond mailing timeframes to allow for processing. If it’s been over 45 days, contact us.


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