If you’ve yet to get your stimulus money for your qualifying dependents, it could be on its way soon. On Tuesday, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig answered questions from the Senate about the challenges of distributing stimulus payments authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Rettig acknowledged flaws in the distribution process that have delayed or prevented certain payments from getting to Americans, especially for Social Security beneficiaries.
Here’s what you need to know.
Low-Income Americans Missing Dependent Stimulus Money
The CARES Act provides economic impact payments, also referred to as stimulus payments or stimulus checks, up to $1,200 for individuals and up to $2,400 for taxpayers filing a joint return. The act provides an additional $500 per qualifying dependent under the age of 17.
Since a large number of Social Security beneficiaries—around 20 million—don’t meet the annual revenue requirements to file tax returns, they were initially unable to receive certain stimulus payments that were sent based on 2018 or 2019 tax returns.
The IRS offered mixed messages about how Social Security beneficiaries could receive their stimulus checks. First, the IRS issued guidance going against the CARES Act, stating “some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.”
After backlash, the IRS said individuals who receive certain federal benefits would automatically receive their stimulus payments. However, these individuals were instructed to use the Non-Filers Tool to submit additional information to the IRS about qualifying dependents, if applicable, to claim the additional money.
Government Lost Information Needed to Process Some Stimulus Payments
It turns out the IRS lost some of that information.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a federal watchdog agency, finds up to 450,000 low-income Americans did not receive the money they were due for dependent children.
Those numbers are for payment calculations made from April 10 to May 17, 2020. Those calculations did not include additional money for qualifying children claimed on returns submitted through the online non-filer tool. Rettig on Tuesday revised that number down to 365,000.
That’s tough news for individuals who need stimulus money to help tide them over during the coronavirus crisis. A survey by YouGov for Forbes Advisor found most Americans used their stimulus payments to pay bills, buy essentials and build emergency funds to protect them for an uncertain economic future.
When Are Those Payments Coming?
Originally, the IRS said individuals who didn’t receive their dependent money wouldn’t receive it until some time next year. The IRS is now backtracking on that statement.
IRS officials told the GAO they’re working to identify individuals who did not receive additional money for qualifying children, but did submit it in the Non-Filers Tool, and expect to provide supplemental payments by the end of July. Rettig echoed that sentiment during his Senate testimony.
“We are going to be reiussing those $500 payments this summer,” Rettig said.
For individuals who missed the deadline to use the Non-Filers Tool to submit dependent information, however, Rettig would not commit to when they will receive the additional $500 per dependent, if at all.
“We have some limitations on abilities and capacities to move things through, but we’re sympathetic with trying to get as much funds out to as many people as possible as quickly as possible, so though that I can’t yet commit on [that] but we are taking a look at it,” Rettig said.
I’m a Personal Finance Reporter for Forbes Advisor. Previously, I covered personal finance at other national web publications including Bankrate and The Penny Hoarder. I’ve been featured as a personal finance expert in outlets like CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, CBS News Radio and more. When I’m not digging up the best ways to manage your money, I’m out traveling the world. Follow me on Twitter at @keywordkelly.