Expensive Penny, my stimulus test was $ 1,500 brief. What can I do?


Dear Penny,

I have been permanently disabled for about 12 years and am getting SSI. I don't file tax returns because I don't work.

I applied for my stimulus check on the IRS website on the first day.

I have three dependent children under the age of 17. I filled out the form on the “Get My Payment” website and provided my bank sort code, my personal data and my children as well as their social security numbers.

In mid-May I finally received my $ 1,200, but there was nothing for my children. There should have been $ 1,500 since I have had custody since January 2014 and currently have sole custody.

I collect public support for her since my ex never paid child benefit. He says he didn't list them as dependent on his tax returns, but why else would I have had no incentive for the children?

I can't find any answers at the IRS. I know that if he had listed them as dependent, they would have used the money for his child benefit that he owes the state.

I don't even know how to find out if he listed her as his family. I am financially stricken and we could have really benefited from that $ 1,500.

How can I find out where I went and why I didn't get the incentive for them?


Dear H.,

I suspect the IRS and not your ex is to blame for your $ 1,500 stimulus check being too short.

However, you will not receive any responses from the IRS. When you call the Stimulus Check hotline, you are unlikely to receive more than a series of automated Choose Your Own Adventure messages.

And even if you reached someone at the IRS, they couldn't give you information about your ex's tax return. The best thing they can tell you is that someone else claims them and then asks both people for documentation.

But your children's father had nothing to gain if he illegally claimed the children as his relatives. Any additional tax refund he would receive would go back to the state. And if his tax refund for unpaid child support is seized, his coronavirus check, including the additional $ 500 credit per child, will also be issued.

Many parents have not received the $ 500 credits for their children in their checks. Anecdotally, many of them seem to be recipients of government benefits, like SSI. The IRS has issued many confusing guidelines for people who get these benefits, but the bottom line was:

We can receive your information from Social Security, SSI, etc. to process your $ 1,200 payment. However, if you have dependent children, use the non-filer tool (the feature on IRS.gov that allows you to provide your information if you do not submit taxes) to submit your child's information so that you can receive the 500- Get dollar credit.

To be clear here: it sounds like you did everything right.

One possible explanation is that the IRS used the information it received from SSI instead of the information you provided with the non-filer tool.

The bad news: At the moment, the IRS said that the only way to fix a payment error is to wait until next year and file a tax return for 2020 to get the difference.

But I understand: you need the money now, not in six or seven months.

Check with your child support case manager to see if you are eligible for the coronavirus check on your child's father.

Unfortunately, most states say that if someone owes child benefit to both the state and the parent who is caring for it, the state is paid first when its reimbursement is garnished. However, at least two states that I know of – California and Oregon – have stated that they will direct the stimulus tests to the caring parents first.

You also need to look for other forms of support. The United Way 211 hotline is a good place to start navigating the many resources in your community. You dial 211 on your phone and you are connected to someone who can help you find support in your area. They can lead you to local housing or food banks, for example.

It is not fair that you are likely to wait a while until you receive the money that you are entitled to. While we can keep our fingers crossed in the hope that the IRS can find a faster way to fix this error, we can be realistic and assume that you will have to survive without this $ 1,500 for now.

Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to (email protected)

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