With over 100 million stimulus payments made, one of the most concerning questions I am seeing is around individuals or families receiving the standard adult stimulus check (a.k.a economic impact payment) of $1200 or $2400 but not receiving the $500 payment for each of their qualified child dependents. Here is what I found when looking into this further.
The first thing to check is that you do indeed meet all the required income and qualify child criteria (e.g under 17) for the $500 per dependent child stimulus payment. Remember for most Americans this is based on your 2018 or 2019 (whichever was the latest) tax return filed and approved by the IRS. Not your current situation or changes since you filed your last return.
The criteria to receive this kids stimulus credit is even higher thank the Child Tax Credit (CTC), so if you didn’t qualify for the CTC in past years you won’t qualify for this payment either.
Social Security retirement, disability benefits (SSDI) and Railroad Retirement benefit recipients and for those that earn too little to file a tax return need to have registered via the IRS’ Non Filers payment update tool to receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. This is because the IRS does not have the the qualifying dependent information for these groups.
So I did all of the above and met all criteria but still didn’t get the $500 kid payment? Some possible answers.
For many recipients, who have met all the criteria for the child stimulus, the reason they haven’t yet got a stimulus check is due to the fact the IRS systems processing these payments are truly not working due to technical or data glitches around how the IRS systems manages dependent information. Eg if your child’s information has gaps or missing information or you didn’t provide a valid SSN in your latest tax return then no payment will be made.
Those using the IRS non-filers tool to enter dependent information have also been disproportionately impacted by the missing $500 payments. This is likely another technical glitch with the fillable form as discussed subsequent to the IRS update below.
The other likely explanation you didn’t get the payment is because someone else claimed the dependent on their tax return or in a later filing than yours. This is a big issue for families that are divided, filing separately or where the dependent is not a direct child of the claimant. So you need to make sure that you were the sole claimant or someone else may have received the $500 payment. Finally your payment can be intercepted for overdue child support payments. So you may have gotten the payment but it went to your spouse or someone else who claimed the child.
Another common error being reported is that those who did not owe or did not get a refund on their latest return are stuck in limbo within IRS payment systems because the IRS does not have their banking details. The IRS is aware of these types of issues and trying to correct them in ongoing system update. They have advised they are doing multiple batches of stimulus check payments and those whose payment were held by due to IRS errors may start seeing them in coming weeks (mailed out via paper checks)
One reader left a comment that stated the following, “We got the payment for myself and my wife and it was deposited into an account that was only set up a few months ago so we know they used the information from our 2019 return (plus we weren’t required to file in 2018). But while that return has all the info for both our 5 year old and our 1 year old we did not receive the $500 for either of them. The deposit we received was $2400 instead of $3400. This is especially frustrating because we actually weren’t required to file in 2019 either, but we used the TurboTax thing that came out a couple of weeks before payments started and was marketed as the fastest way for non-filers to get their info to the IRS (which was actually by filing a very limited return). So we went out of our way to use this tool which was supposedly put out in partnership between Intuit and the IRS to get them our info and they still screwed it up?
The above comment confirms another potential cause for the missing $500 payment attributed to filing a simple return via Tax software providers (like Turbo Tax, HR Block) which has caused issues when it comes to the IRS processing dependent payments for these filings. The evidence is anecdotal but the above comment does confirm what many lower income Americans are seeing. Hopefully the IRS fixes this (or provides a number to call) or they’ll have to wait till filing their 2020 return to claim the $500 payment.
Can I call the IRS? At this point there is little recourse for most people trying to resolve this by speaking to someone at the IRS. The agency however just announced they are adding live representatives to take calls on the stimulus check payments (see details here). Most people will still however have to wait for their Economic Impact Payment letter as a way to confirm payment and follow-up on missing or incorrect payments.
IRS Update on $500 payment – Unfortunately the IRS has confirmed that those who did not receive the full amount of their expected stimulus payment, including the supplementary $500 child dependent payment, will need to claim the additional amount when they file their 2020 tax return. This is a tough break for many families who needed/expected the $500 payment as soon as possible and were hoping to get a supplementary or corrective payment in the mail sometime in the near future. You’ll now need to wait till 2021 when you file your tax return to fix this and get paid the child stimulus if you are eligible.
VA and SSI recipients may have a little more time to have the $500 added automatically to their standard stimulus check payment by using the Non-Filers tool (via IRS website). However they must file by May 5th to qualify or like most American’s they will have to wait until 2021 to get the additional $500 when filing a 2020 tax return.
Note, a number of comments below indicate that even using the non-filers tools is causing issues with receiving this payment. There seems to be a problem with the online form where there is no box to check to claim your kids as dependents , even though you put in all their information (the printed form seems to have this). I am sure the IRS is looking into this, but looks like yet another technical/coding glitch with the non-filers tool that is just using online fill-able forms.
Direct Express Account Holders: You may use the Non-Filers tool, but you cannot receive your and your children’s payment on your Direct Express account. You may only select a bank account for direct deposit or leave bank information blank and receive the money by mail.
Both parents received the $500 payment. So a few unmarried or separated parents with an eligible child commented that they both got the $500 child stimulus payment as they filed separately. The good news, or loophole is that there is no provision in the law requiring repayment of the payment. So you get to keep it if you get it. The IRS will send Notice 1444, Your Economic Impact Payment, to each parent and they should keep the notice for their 2020 tax records.
I’ll update this post if I get any additional information or if the IRS posts updated guidance, but feel free to share your story. You can also subscribe via email or follow via social media options shown below to get the latest updates.
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