Apr 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Americans without IRS direct deposit may not receive stimulus checks for months

Trump at the stimulus bill signing

Trump at the stimulus bill signing. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Coronavirus stimulus payments will begin to be distributed in mid-April, but Americans without direct deposit accounts set up with the IRS may not receive checks until August, according to a House Ways and Means Committee memo first reported by CNN and confirmed by Axios.

Why it matters: The IRS estimates that only about 70 million of the roughly 150 million Americans eligible for the payments have direct deposit information on file, according to CNN.

  • With record unemployment levels expected to continue growing, millions of families will have to endure the economic pain for months without direct cash payments from the government.
  • The payments are part of a $2.2 trillion stimulus package signed by Trump last week to limit the economic damage caused by the coronavirus.

Details: The IRS will begin depositing payments to 60 million Americans in mid-April, according to the memo. But paper checks won't start being mailed until the week of May 4, and they'll go out at a rate of 5 million checks per week.

  • That rate would mean the final paper checks would be distributed 20 weeks later — the week of Aug. 17.

The timelines are based on "extensive conversations with the IRS and the Department of Treasury," according to the memo. But they could change as discussions continue between the Trump administration and Congress.

  • The memo adds: "The Committee remains focused on ensuring all eligible Americans receive their payment as quickly as possible."
  • The Trump administration has already reversed an earlier provision that required social security recipients who don't typically file tax returns to do so in order to receive their payment.
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