California Sends Out $1.6 Billion in Stimulus Checks—What to Do if You Haven't Received One

California has sent out more than 2.5 million stimulus checks since April 15, but not receiving a payment doesn't mean a person isn't eligible for one.

The Golden State Stimulus created a statewide direct payment plan that enabled the Franchise Tax Board to send out $600 or $1,200 payments to eligible individuals. The program is designed to help low-income Californians and those who weren't eligible to receive the direct payments Congress passed.

"We passed the recovery package to get money into the pockets of Californians who were hit hardest by this pandemic, and that's exactly what the Golden State Stimulus is doing—already getting $1.6 billion to 2.5 million Californians," Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

To be eligible for a payment, a person must either receive the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) or file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Those who claim the CalEITC on their tax return must earn less than $30,000 a year and since Congress' stimulus checks were limited to those with a Social Security number, anyone who filed an ITIN didn't receive the federal funds.

If a person files their taxes with an ITIN and also claims the CalEITC on their tax return, their stimulus check from the state will be worth $1,200.

california stimulus check what to do payment
California's sent out 2.5 million stimulus payments and if a person hasn't received one it may be because they haven't filed their taxes yet. In this Photo Illustration, twenty and five dollar bills are displayed on August 29, 2017, in San Anselmo, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The 2.5 million payments are worth $1.6 billion, according to the California Franchise Tax Board, and were sent to people who filed their tax return before April 23. While the payments are automatic, they won't be sent to anyone until they file their tax return and the sooner the person does, the sooner they'll receive their stimulus check.

The first thing a person should do if they think they're eligible and haven't received a payment is to confirm they filed their taxes. If they have submitted their return, they should check the date they filed because payments are being issued based on when the return was filed.

Payments started being sent out on April 15 for those who filed their returns by March 1 and will continue to be issued on a rolling basis. The California Franchise Tax Board started issuing payments for those who filed their returns by April 23 on May 1.

It can take up to two weeks to receive a direct deposit and up to six weeks if a person is set to receive a paper check in the mail. Those who filed their taxes after April 23 could have to wait up to 45 days for a direct deposit and up to 60 days for a paper check.

If a person filed their return before the April 23 deadline and didn't receive a payment, the California Franchise Tax Board advises them to give the agency 45 days beyond mailing time frames to allow for processing. If 45 days have passed, a person should contact them by either calling the agency or using the chat feature on the website.

"The Golden State Stimulus will provide a measure of relief to California taxpayers deeply affected by the pandemic," State Controller and Franchise Tax Board Chair Betty Yee said in a statement. "This stimulus, combined with the California Earned Income Tax Credit, will provide hundreds or even thousands of dollars to many individuals and families in need."