With more than 20 million Americans out of work, stimulus checks from the federal government are a lifeline for people to meet basic needs like rent and food. And while 70 million people desperately await these payments, the paper checks have been delayed by the Treasury Department so that President Donald Trump can have his name printed on each one of them. This is the first time in U.S. history that a president's name will appear on an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) disbursement, causing payments to be slowed by at least a few days, if not more.
Although the IRS already alerted recipients of physical checks that those payments would be delayed, many people who expected to receive a direct deposit payment Wednesday morning are still waiting for their money, too. Among the now-22 million Americans who have filed for unemployment in recent weeks, many reported that they either haven't received any funds or were given an incorrect amount. According to The Washington Post, there are a number of glitches to blame for this.
Millions of people who filed their taxes with preparers like H&R Block, TurboTax, and others reportedly didn’t receive their payments because the IRS didn’t have direct deposit information on file, the Treasury said.
According to statements from TurboTax and H&R Block, the IRS has the appropriate bank account information on hand for all tax filers who used preparers and is determining when and how to disburse payments. "This is true regardless of whether a customer chose to receive their refund on a debit card, selected refund transfer or other services," TurboTax's senior communications leader Ashley McMahon said.
The IRS has "created confusion by not always using clients’ final destination bank account information for stimulus payments," H&R Block said in a statement. "We share our clients’ frustration that many of them have not yet received these much-needed payments due to IRS decisions."
Also affected by internal IRS glitches were parents of dependent children, many of whom did not receive the extra $500 for their children, and people whose 2019 tax returns hadn’t yet been processed.
So, what can you do it you haven't gotten your stimulus check? In order to ease some of the concern around when people might get their payments, the IRS launched a “Get My Payment” tool on Wednesday to track the funds. Still, many people who attempted to use the tool reported receiving a message that read, “Payment Status Not Available,” leaving them in the dark once more.
In its continued efforts to alleviate some of the burden of not knowing when payments will arrive, the IRS said it will roll out a new tracking system on April 17 on its Economic Impact Payments page. There, users will be able to track their funds throughout the stimulus package payment plan. Beyond checking the status of your payments online, the IRS says that for most taxpayers, there’s not much more you can do.
Beyond the delays and confusion associated with internal bureaucratic and processing issues, the IRS is also tackling this unprecedented crisis after taking a 20 percent funding cut over the last ten years, which has no doubt made this process even more tiresome. The long processing times and lack of accessible information has left people confused and frustrated, as Americans — many of whom lack any emergency savings — continue to await relief funds.
Still, the IRS insists that reports of the payment status portal crashing are simply "inaccurate. "IRS is actively monitoring site volume," they said in a statement sent to Refinery29. "If site volume gets too high, users are sent to an online 'waiting room' for a brief wait until space becomes available, much like private sector online sites." Despite reports from people claiming that the system is crashing or not working, the company is confident that the results are already quite positive. "As of mid-day today, more than 6.2 million taxpayers have successfully received their payment status and almost 1.1 million taxpayers have successfully provided banking information, ensuring a direct deposit will be quickly sent," they said.