The Philadelphia Inquirer: Christian Hetrick - November 13, 2020
About 64,000 Philadelphia households could still claim their coronavirus stimulus checks from the federal government, but they have just a week left to get the money.
Millions of Americans received payments in April as part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress. Most eligible Philadelphians automatically got checks, but some didn’t because the Internal Revenue Service needed more information, city officials said this week. In most cases, those are households that don’t normally file tax returns because they earn little or no income.
The city estimates there are up to 64,000 eligible households who haven’t received checks. That amounts to $77 million in unclaimed funds that could help Philadelphians pay rent, buy groceries, or slash their debt. The payments are up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples, with up to $500 for each qualifying child.
Residents who haven’t been paid must submit information — including their addresses and Social Security numbers — through the IRS’s Non-Filer Tool by 3 p.m. on Nov. 21. The online tool can be found at irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here.
United Way is offering residents help completing the Non-Filer Tool, according to the city. Philadelphians can call United Way’s Economic Impact Payment helpline at 844-322-3639.
This isn’t the first time the city has pushed residents to take advantage of untapped federal benefits. In the past, the city has encouraged Philadelphians to take the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
“There are dozens of organizations that are ready, willing, and able to help eligible Philadelphians obtain their payment,” Mitchell Little, executive director of the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, said in a statement. “With just a little time and effort, we can put a much-needed $1,200 in someone’s pocket.”
Congress passed the stimulus package in March during the early days of the pandemic, as states and cities shut down businesses to slow the spread of the virus. But lawmakers in Washington still haven’t agreed on another deal to send relief to Americans, even as the virus resurges across the country and hundreds of thousands of people file new unemployment claims each week.