IRS Hire More Staff to Deal With Stimulus Payment Questions Demand as Millions Wait for Paper Checks

The IRS has announced it has added 3,500 telephone representatives to help deal with the demand in questions about the Economic Impact Payments.

The IRS said that answers for most of the common questions about the payments are available on website.

"Answers for most Economic Impact Payment questions are available on the automated message for people who call the phone number provided in the letter (Notice 1444)," an IRS spokesperson said.

"Those who need additional assistance at the conclusion of the message will have the option of talking to a telephone representative."

By now, around 140 million eligible Americans should have received their stimulus payment either by direct deposit or in the mail as a check.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had planned to send most of the money digitally using the information from tax returns filed in 2018 or 2019, or to those who requested a direct deposit via the Get My Payment tool.

The IRS promised to "sharply increase" the number of paper checks being sent out after the deadline to request a direct deposit passed on Wednesday, May 13.

According to an IRS memo seen by The Washington Post, the IRS planned to start sending checks on April 24 to those earning $10,000 or less, with checks for those earning up to $20,000 sent out a week later from May 1.

This weekly send of checks based on income increments of $10,000 will continue until June 26, when those in the final bracket earning up to $100,000 will be sent theirs.

The final checks to joint taxpayers who earn up to $200,000 will not be sent out until the week beginning September 4.

However, it is unclear if this timeline will be affected by the announcement from the Treasury that the IRS are to send out nearly four million Economic Impact Payments by prepaid debit card, instead of by paper check.

MetaBank will begin mailing EIP Cards to eligible recipients beginning this week which can be used to withdraw and transfer funds or make purchases with.

"Treasury and the IRS have been working with unprecedented speed to issue Economic Impact Payments to American families. Prepaid debit cards are secure, easy to use, and allow us to deliver Americans their money quickly," Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement. "Recipients can immediately activate and use the cards safely."

The cards are being sent to those whose bank information is not filed with the IRS, and whose tax return was processed by either the Andover or Austin IRS Service Center.

People still waiting for the checks to be sent in the mail can use the Get My Payment app to check its status.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building stands on April 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson/Getty