Should the IRS issue physical stimulus checks to families still waiting?

What would have made stimulus checks roll out faster and prevented American families from waiting months, or over a year to receive payments promised early in the coronavirus pandemic?

Several states across the U.S. are rolling out stimulus payments to help families get by as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy. While the delta variant is playing the biggest role in sluggish recovery — a lack of vaccinations in parts is also causing challenges as hospitals fill up with patients.

Countless heartbreaking stories have come up as families wait for money that the federal government promised them months — or even a year ago.

The IRS has taken a lot of criticism for its troubles distributing stimulus payments, tax refunds, and enhanced child tax credit payments — but beyond the need for more manpower — some have wondered about technical limitations. 

Why weren’t physical stimulus checks sent out instead of electronic payment methods?

Some frustrated taxpayers who are still waiting for stimulus checks from 2020 are asking that question — as the IRS faces a massive backlog of tax returns, unprocessed stimulus checks, and child tax credit payments. 

Craig Nolan, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania resident, is one of those people. “It doesn’t make any sense that they didn’t just send checks out to everyone,” he told FingerLakes1.com. Like millions of other Americans — Nolan is waiting for his second stimulus check, which the IRS told him would arrive after he filed his taxes. “My claim was processed — they tell me it’s part of an electronic back up. Banks, the IRS, everything all not working together.”

Early in the coronavirus pandemic the IRS said that it would not send out physical checks to anyone who had received a tax refund by direct deposit. In recent years, the IRS has transitioned most filers to electronic payment method. While there are still some people who receive physical checks — the idea that it would’ve made payments process more quickly is misguided. 




Where are new stimulus checks being sent out?

California is the only state that’s sending out universal stimulus checks to most residents. In fact, hundreds of thousands have already been delivered. The state government there says that 9 million more payments will be issued by October 15. Those checks will be worth $600, according to officials.

New York State is tapping into federal funds to issue stimulus checks to immigrant workers under an excluded workers program, which will send stimulus checks worth up to $15,200 to undocumented workers that made less than $26,000 last year.

Other states, like Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, and Tennessee are rolling out stimulus payments to those in certain employment fields — like teachers or first responders. 

State websites are providing the most-recent information on this front.


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