FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – While millions of Americans have received a second federal stimulus check, many of those who could likely use the money the most are still waiting for their first payment.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Ralph Arthur of Burleson. “We could really use a little help. It would be a lifeline for us right now.”
Despite being eligible for the federal payments, Arthur has still not received a $1,200 stimulus payment from the CARES Act or the latest $600 payment recently approved by lawmakers.
Arthur works as waiter at a diner in Burleson but his income is low enough where he’s not required to file a tax return.
In order for him to get a stimulus check as a non-filler, the IRS required him this past summer to go onto its website and provide his information.
Arthur said he tried but he doesn’t have a computer or reliable internet service.
“I tried calling the IRS over and over and I got a machine,” he said. “I had my sister try on her computer. We don’t have internet where I live. Even if we did, I can’t afford it. I don’t need another bill.”
Arthur is one of millions of low-income Americans who have fallen through the cracks during the distribution of stimulus payments.
After the first round of stimulus payment went out, Janet Holtzblatt, a senior fellow with the Tax Policy Center, took a look at who still had not received their payment.
She discovered adults were less likely to receive the payment if they had family incomes below the poverty line.
According to her research from May 2020, “only 58.6% of adults with incomes at or below the federal poverty level stated that they received the payments, compared with 77.5% of other potentially eligible adults with incomes between 100 and 600% of the federal poverty level.”
Holtzblatt said the barriers keeping low-income individuals from receiving a payment were non-filler status, lack of computer access, and lack of a bank account.
While her research was done this past summer, Holtzblatt said she still fears a high percent of low-income Americans still have never received a stimulus payment.
Due to the speed in distributing the second round of payments, the IRS did not provide a method for non-fillers to provide the federal agency their information if they didn’t provide the information for the first round of payments
The IRS said people, like Arthur, can still get their stimulus payments by claiming them as a tax credit when they file a 2020 tax return.
“I don’t need a tax credit,” Arthur explained. “I just need my stimulus check like everyone else. We just need a little help.”
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