As Stimulus Checks Stall, 8.7 Million At Risk of Losing Out on Support

Incomplete records could result in upwards of 8.7 million Americans losing out on stimulus checks when a new bill is passed.

A report from Congress' auditors, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), found there was no available IRS and Treasury Department data for 14 million people in the last round of stimulus.

Those that did not file tax returns or receive federal benefits may have missed out on the $1,200 checks, according to the report, which looked at the $2.6 trillion that was passed in emergency coronavirus support.

In April, the Treasury estimated that there were 30 million people who were eligible for help. Of that 30 million, 14 million were data dark.

The latest report states that the Treasury had followed advice on extending the deadline for those people to apply for payments, and 5.3 million used an IRS tool to apply for payments.

8.7 million remaining people who didn't use the tool have not yet received a payment.

The report also states that without an updated estimate of people outside of the tax system, federal agencies have a limited capacity to help those that would be otherwise eligible for support.

An IRS outreach partner has said that eligible recipients that have missed out on checks are likely to be "low-income" and could "most use the payment," the report stated.

Among the areas the report outlined where action was taken to help people deal with the financial impact of the coronavirus, were child nutrition and employer tax relief.

More action is needed on things like rent support, however, as the GAO cites the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey in saying an estimated 46 to 51 percent of renters reported being unemployed from May–July 2020.

It goes on to say that in July 2020, an estimated 18 percent of renters did not pay their rent during the previous month, up from an estimated 14 percent in May.

Over the same time frame, an estimated 27 to 33 percent of renters reported they had no or slight confidence in their ability to pay rent next month.

Since the pandemic took hold millions of Americans have been in dire need of financial support, as businesses and individuals have struggled under the strain of wide-sweeping lockdowns. Alongside this, figures show American consumers are curbing their spending, suggesting that the effects of federal support for the economy are already fading.

Talks to pass a second stimulus check have been on hold for over a month now, and face further delays as lawmakers debate a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the supreme court.

Senate Republicans and the White House had rejected the House Democrats' $3 trillion bill and although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave a $2.2 trillion marker in August, Senate GOP leaders have not moved from a $650 billion measure that the Democrats stopped last week.

Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol on August 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. Negotiations between Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows continue, as they look to find a compromise between McConnell's $1 trillion stimulus package and the $3 trillion package passed by the House in May. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images