The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress on March 27, 2020. CARES protects Americans from the negative economic impacts of COVID-19. Under this act, economic impact payments (EIPs) were to be issued to households—up to $1,200 per adult for individuals whose income was less than $99,000, or $198,000 for joint filers. The amount varies depending on household income and the number of children or dependents. Households may also receive $500 for each child under age 17, or up to $3,400 for a family of four. To be eligible, you must: 1) have a valid Social Security number, and 2) be ineligible to be claimed, or have been claimed as someone’s dependent on a 2018 or 2019 federal tax return. Stimulus funds were distributed beginning in March 2020. They were issued either via check, debit card, or direct deposit into a bank account on file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If you are eligible and did not receive your payment, you have several options. Note that many payments were issued via direct deposit. Check your bank statement or contact your banking institution to ask about your payment.
You can also call the economic stimulus hotline at 1-800-919-9835. Live agents are available and may be able to assist you in finding out about your payment.
However, if you received a letter in the mail from the IRS that an EIP was issued on a certain date, but you did not receive payment, you can request a payment trace. You should do so if it has been more than:
- Five days since the scheduled deposit date.
- Four weeks since it was mailed by check to a standard address.
- Six weeks since it was mailed, but you have completed a mail-forwarding form with the post office.
- Nine weeks since it was mailed, and you have a foreign address.
To request a payment trace, complete IRS Form 3911. Note: This is the same form the IRS uses to issue a refund trace. Write “EIP” at the top of the form, and complete sections I, II, and III. In section I, line 7, check the box for “individual” return, enter 2020 as the tax period, and leave the date blank. New Jersey residents should fax the form to 1-855-344-9993 or mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
333 West Pershing Road
Kansas City, MO 64108
The IRS will process the request as follows: 1) A replacement will be issued if a paper check was sent to you and not cashed, or 2) if the check was cashed, the Bureau of Fiscal Service will send you a claim package with a copy of the cashed check and instructions. A determination will be made as to whether a replacement check will be sent.
Some eligible individuals who did not receive payment also did not receive an IRS notice that payment was issued. In this circumstance, a portal is available on IRS.gov for inquiries. Go to www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment. You will need your Social Security number and date of birth to get your payment status and to see the type of payment that was issued. If your result is “No Information Available,” call the economic stimulus hotline number shown above.
If you are still experiencing difficulties, contact the Tax Legal Assistance Project at Legal Services at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529), or go to www.lsnjlawhotline.org and complete an application.