Thousands of federal stimulus payments still unclaimed
(WASHINGTON) Following a hearing on the status of the economic stimulus payments in the House Ways and Means Committee today, Congressman Richard E. Neal is urging local veterans and retirees to claim their stimulus checks. The Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration had representatives tell members of the tax-writing committee that million of Americans eligible for a stimulus rebate have still not filed claims. They also outlined how these payments can be claimed.
To receive a rebate check this year, eligible taxpayers must file an income tax return for the 2007 tax year by October 15, 2008. There are special filing requirements for taxpayers who normally are not required to file an income tax return (“ESP filers). The IRS estimates that 130 million economic stimulus payments will be sent to eligible taxpayers, including ESP filers. For returns filed by April 15th, economic stimulus payments that were direct deposited have been completed, and, by July 11th, the remaining checks are scheduled to be mailed. Through June 5th, about 67 million economic stimulus payments have been made.
“In these times of high gas prices and economic uncertainty, this much needed payment can help a lot of families in our region. There are more than 150,000 families in Massachusetts, and more than 4,000 in Springfield alone, who are eligible but have simply not asked for their checks. For veterans and people living on Social Security, this request for a stimulus rebate is simple, quick and easy,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal.
The IRS has identified 5.2 million retirees and veterans beneficiaries who are potentially eligible for the stimulus payments, including many who have not been filing tax returns. This summer, the IRS will send special letters explaining eligibility and how to claim rebates. The letter will include a sample tax form and an actual tax form to be completed and mailed to the IRS. The IRS also offers Tax Payer Assistance Centers in order to assist with filing for stimulus payments. In western Massachusetts, the center is located at 1550 Main Street in downtown Springfield. Those who qualify for a rebate will receive a minimum payment of $300 ($600 for a married couple), plus $300 for each qualifying child.