An unprecedented 159 million Americans have received stimulus checks. Congress approved the payments earlier this year because of the COVID-19 shutdown. While almost $267 billion has been handed out, some Floridians are still waiting and in desperate need.
Amy Bennett said her 1,200 stimulus check could save her small business, creating custom Jenga-esque party blocks, from going bankrupt.
"I have about two weeks," Bennett said. "I'm just really struggling and doing whatever I can."
Bennett isn't alone. A House Ways and Means Committee report suggests there are between 30-35 million other Americans still waiting for payment. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that includes at least 750,000 Floridians.
SPECIAL SECTION: The Rebound Southwest Florida
"I don't know what's holding it up," Bennett said. "It just seems like to me small businesses are not being taken care of in this situation."
Financial experts at Credit Card Insider said delayed payments have become a common question. Greg Mahnken, who works with the company, said there are several reasons why a check hasn't arrived:
- No direct deposit info on your tax account
- Your address or bank info is out of date
But, if you're sure you're eligible, the biggest issue might be your income level, Mahnken said.
"The IRS spelled out in April how they were going to process payments," Mahnken said. "They were going to start with the lowest-income Americans first and go from there."
Other issues slowing things down:
- You didn't file the last two years and need to submit basic info to the IRS.
- It's also possible you received your payment in the form of a debit card and tossed it, believing it was a scam or junk mail.
The best way to check your status is online. For most, the IRS's "Get My Payment" site will shed some light.
If not, there's also a stimulus hotline at 800-919-9835. It gives callers a chance to speak with a government representative, but be warned, wait-times can exceed an hour.
For those still out of luck, the government has one last option. Officials at the Treasury Department said in a news release taxpayers can claim their payment when they file in 2020.
For Bennett, however, a 2020 claim isn't much help. She needs the money ASAP and said she hasn't been able to figure out why it's still missing.
In a final desperate attempt to keep her doors open, she's started a fundraiser, but at last check was short of Bennett's goal.
"Trying to keep my cool as much as I can. It doesn't help to stay frustrated," Bennett said. "At this point, after eight years, I'm not ready to just through in the towel."
If you're one of the hundreds of thousands of Floridians still waiting on a stimulus check, here are some takeaways:
- Remember a higher income may mean a longer wait.
- Ensure your tax and address info is current.
- If you didn't file in the last two years, you may need to submit some basic info to the IRS.
- And keep a lookout for a debit card from the government. It's not a scam or junk mail.
The experts at Credit Card Insider also shared these links for those with more questions: