Third Stimulus Check: How to Get Your $1,400 Stimulus Check If You Have No Bank Account
In a little over a month, nearly one hundred sixty million coronavirus stimulus checks worth $376 billion have been sent out to U.S. taxpayers.
Millions of cash-starved Americans surely have been helped by having access to the extra cash, but the Internal Revenue Service is also aware that there are certain eligible individuals who don’t have a permanent address or a bank account.
Know that most of the payments have been disbursed automatically, either via direct deposits, paper checks, or debit cards. So, without a home or a bank account, it makes it incredibly difficult for the IRS to get them the money they deserve in a timely fashion.
This is precisely the reason why the agency developed a non-filers tool last year for the first round of stimulus checks. But unfortunately, that tool is no longer open to the public.
The best option available now is to file a tax return, even if there was no income in 2020. This is considered the fastest way for the agency to get the necessary information it needs to disburse the funds.
For this particular tax season, which has been extended to May 17, a Recovery Rebate Credit has been added to all returns, so that people stuck in this situation can eventually get their hands on the overdue payments.
According to the IRS website, it states that “if you didn’t get any payments or got less than the full amounts, you may qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit even if you don’t normally file.”
It adds: “People do not need a permanent address or a bank account. They don’t need to have a job. For eligible individuals, the IRS will still issue the payment even if they haven’t filed a tax return in years.”
These individuals may put the address of a friend or a relative, the IRS notes, adding that an address of a shelter or a drop-in day center is also okay.
Keep in mind that stimulus check money cannot be garnished for unpaid federal debts or back taxes, but the $1,400 checks can indeed be garnished for unpaid private debts, such as medical bills or credit card debts if they are subject to a court order.
Still, the quickest way to get the stimulus check is through a direct deposit, which requires having an open bank account. With this in mind, the IRS has been encouraging individuals to set up a free account at a local bank.
To offer even more assistance, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has launched a campaign that pinpoints seventy-five banks and credit unions that are offering free or low-cost accounts.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.