The latest round of stimulus checks have already reached millions, but a lapse in communication between federal agencies is holding back relief for some the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
Tens of millions of recipients of federal financial assistance, like those on Social Security or disability payments through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, saw their $1,400 checks stalled because of their filing status with the Internal Revenue Service.
“They (the IRS) said there was nothing I had to do, since I automatically qualified. I didn’t have to do anything … But I would say it took seven to eight weeks to get the first check, and maybe three weeks to get the second,” said Casey Brock, a disabled veteran living in Wolf Point.
Brock has received benefits from the VA for about a decade, and said his bank account has been nearly empty since the start of the pandemic. The stimulus check for him means groceries bought and bills paid.
Since the pandemic reached the United States, stimulus checks have followed each relief bill passed by Congress. The first two rounds of checks, also known as economic impact payments, have amounted to an estimated $465 billion sent to U.S. citizens. The total amount sent to an individual has varied, depending on income, marriage status and how many children in each household. The responsibility of determining how much money every person who qualifies will receive, and distributing those funds, has fallen on the IRS.