ILS helping vulnerable Hoosiers get stimulus checks

Indiana Legal Services has launched a public education campaign to help all eligible Hoosiers access their federal stimulus payments, noting millions of dollars could remain unclaimed unless individuals act before the Oct. 15 deadline.

Stimulus checks, in the amount of $1,200 or more, were provided to every American as part of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security) Act, passed by Congress in March to stabilize household income as the national economy shutdown in the early day of the COVID-19 pandemic. However more than 214,000 Hoosiers are at risk of not receiving their payments because they did not automatically receive the check from the IRS like the majority of Americans.

“For a lot of folks, the payments do not come automatically, especially if they aren’t routinely filing tax returns or receiving certain kinds of benefits like Social Security,” said Megan Stuart, ILS attorney. “Stimulus payments are a vital lifeline for paying past-due rent, groceries and other necessary household expenses.”

Vulnerable Hoosiers will miss out on $67 million in potential payments if they do not take steps to claim their stimulus payments, according to ILS. Indiana residents must access their checks before the October deadline.

“Hoosiers need their money,” Stuart said. “Indiana Legal Services sees firsthand how our clients are struggling to make ends meet due to COVID-19.”

To get the stimulus payment:

  • Hoosiers who weren’t required to file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 (and don’t plan to do so) should fill out the IRS non-filer form. The Internal Revenue Service non-filer form is available here on the IRS website. Hoosiers completing the non-filer form must have an email address to create an account and will have to provide the following information: full name (and name of spouse), mailing address, date of birth, Social Security number, bank account information (if available), driver’s license or state-issued ID (if available) and details for any children under age 17. Hoosiers who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) should use the IRS’s Free File site instead of the IRS non-filer form to ensure they receive all of the money they are eligible for.
  • Hoosiers who were required to file federal taxes in 2018 and/or 2019 but failed to file should file a federal tax return online on the IRS’s Free File site rather than use the IRS non-filer form. The IRS is not currently processing paper tax returns. The IRS Free File is only available until midnight ET October 15. Hoosiers who miss the October 15 deadline will be able to get a payment next year by filing a 2020 tax return.

Hoosiers who fall into one of the following are supposed to receive their payments automatically and do not need to do anything to receive a stimulus payment:

  • People who filed a tax return for tax year 2018 or 2019.
  • Those receiving Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI) or survivor benefits.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients.
  • Recipients of Veterans Affairs Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefits.
  • Individuals who receive Railroad Retirement (RRB) benefits.

SSA, VA, SSE, and RBB benefit recipients with dependents who don’t usually file a tax return only had until April 22, 2020, to use the IRS non-filer form to receive up to $500 for any dependent children. However, these recipients can still file a tax return next year to determine their payment based on 2020 and claim any additional amount they weren’t paid this year.

For additional information visit the Get it Back Campaign,  the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Center for LGTBQ Economic Advancement & Research.

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