Roughly 300,000 Americans are still missing their coronavirus stimulus checks after possibly mistaking them for junk mail.
The IRS announced in May that it was mailing nearly 4 million Americans their Economic Impact Payments via prepaid debit cards in place of paper checks or direct deposit. The government passed in March the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which allocated up to $1,200 in stimulus checks for individuals and up to $2,400 for couples, Heavy previously reported.
But due to the nature in which they were sent, enclosed in plain envelopes from Money Network Cardholder Services, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers may have mistakenly tossed them in the trash, Forbes reported.
The outlet found that 297,671 taxpayers had not yet activated their cards as of August 24.
IRS staffers acknowledged during a recent online tax professionals meeting that, although more than 160 million payments had been sent out by mid-August, a portion of those may have been mistaken for trash or scams, Forbes said.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Cards Were Used in an Effort to Expedite the Process of Sending Americans Aid Relating to the Pandemic
The Bureau of the Fiscal Service, a part of the Treasury Department that works with the IRS, determined which taxpayers would receive cards, the IRS said in a May statement.
The MetaBank cards allow individuals to make purchases online and at any retail location where Visa is accepted, withdraw cash from in-network ATMs, transfer funds to their personal bank accounts and check balances by mobile app or online, the agency continued.
By July, Nearly 800,000 Cards Remained Inactive
Forbes reported last week that, as of July, roughly 800,000 taxpayers had still not activated their cards. The IRS told the outlet that follow-up letters were sent on July 2 containing instructions on how to obtain payments.
The notices reminded individuals to activate their cards or call the agency to request replacements, Forbes said.
A U.S. Treasury senior official has since confirmed with the outlet that “approximately 92% of cards have been activated to date and new activations continue to come in daily.”
Here’s What to Do if You Think You Lost or Destroyed Your Card
According to the IRS, anyone who believes they lost or destroyed their card should call the agency’s customer service at 1-800-240-8100 and select the “Lost/Stolen” option.
The initial card will then be deactivated and the user will be reissued a new one free of charge, the agency disclosed online. For every reissue after that, a fee of $7.50 will be applied.