I was doing some reading online last night and I read something that alarmed me: There are over 5 million unclaimed economic stimulus checks currently held by the IRS. A large percentage of those are held by military veterans whose primary source of income is VA benefits or Social Security checks.
But there is a problem… many people whose sole source income comes from Social Security or VA benefits are not required to file taxes with the IRS every year. The problem is that the only way to receive the economic stimulus rebate is to file taxes with the IRS. Many people who are eligible for the stimulus rebate have not received it because they did not file taxes, because they are not normally required to do so. If you know anyone who may be in this situation, please do them a favor and let them know they might be eligible for a rebate.
The stimulus check was automatically sent out to qualifying tax filers, but if you have not yet received your rebate, check, there is still time.
How to claim your stimulus check
First, make sure you filed your taxes. You will not receive a stimulus check if you do not file taxes.
Second, learn when you should receive your rebate. The best way to do this is to use the official stimulus payment tracker provided by the IRS web site. You will need to have information from your 2007 tax return, so be sure to have that handy when you use this online tool.
Third, check for reasons that may delay your rebate check. There may be legitimate reasons for receiving your economic stimulus payment late, or for not receiving it at all.
- If you filed your taxes late, your rebate check will be delayed. Expect a 2-6 week delay if you filed your taxes late. You must file by Oct. 15th 2008 to receive a rebate this year.
- Your stimulus rebate check was garnished. Your check can be garnished by the Treasury Offset Program. If your money was scheduled to be garnished, you should have received a notice. Reasons can include unpaid child support, back taxes, or student loans.
- You PCS’d or changed addresses. The IRS will not forward rebate checks, so you need to notify them if you moved. You should file a Form 8822 with the IRS, and a change of address notice with the U.S. Postal Service.
Fourth, contact the IRS. If all else fails, contact the people who know best. Try calling the IRS at 1-866-234-2942. Again, be patient. IRS workers are receiving hundreds of calls daily, and need time to process your information. You will get much better results if you are friendly with the agent handling your claim.
Fifth, have patience. Above all else, be prepared to wait. The checks acan take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to be sent out. In addition, IRS agents are handling hundreds of calls daily, so be patient with them.