Millions could still be eligible for a stimulus check - and time is running out to claim it

FILE-Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing at the Philadelphia Financial Center in 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

Millions of Americans are still eligible to receive a COVID-19 stimulus payment, with some households in store for a possibly massive payment.  

More than 9 million mostly low-income Americans did not claim pieces of – or all of – the various relief payments delivered the pandemic, the IRS announced in a news release. 

Many are still qualified to receive the money even if they had no income last year; however, they will be required to file a tax return in order to take advantage of the relief payments, including the expanded child tax credit, the 2021 recovery rebate credit and the earned income tax credit. 

"We don’t want people to overlook these tax credits, and the letters will remind people of their potential eligibility and steps they can take," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.



FILE- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Although Monday is the tax deadline for individuals who got an extension, the IRS said that the Free File program – a free online tax preparation software for individuals to submit their 2021 tax returns – will remain open through Nov. 17.

The Free File tool is available to anyone who earned $73,000 or less in 2021. It is available in both English and Spanish.

The IRS is sending "special reminder letters" for people who seemingly qualify for the different tax credits but who haven't filed a tax return in order to claim them. 


"We encourage people who haven't filed a tax return yet for 2021 to review these options," Rettig said. "Even if they aren't required to file a tax return, they may still qualify for several important credits."

In total, people can possibly receive a payment worth up to five figures if they have yet to claim the expanded child tax credit, the stimulus payment of $1,400 per person, or the child and dependent care credit that offers families who pay for daycare up to $8,000 for two or more children.

Under the expanded child tax credit, low- and middle-income parents could receive up to $3,000 for every child ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 for every child under age 6. The payments were income-based and began to phase out for individuals earning more than $75,000 and married couples earning more than $150,000.

Parents could choose to have the first half delivered in monthly payments during the second half of 2021; if that is the case, the IRS has said those individuals are still eligible to receive the second half of the payment. 

Some Americans aren't eligible to receive the cash payments: College students and dependents over the age of 17 won't receive the money, nor will immigrants who don't have a Social Security number. 

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