(NEXSTAR) — As $1,400 stimulus checks land in bank accounts across the country this week, many homeless Americans who desperately need them are in danger of missing out on the COVID relief payments.
Because the government uses tax information to direct payments to eligible Americans, the system created to deliver aid doesn’t easily include houseless people.
The third round of stimulus checks is being disbursed based on IRS tax return information from 2019 or 2020 – however, people who make less than $12,200 a year are not required to file a tax return and will not automatically receive a payment.
Lacking a recently filed tax return is just one of several obstacles people experiencing homelessness face in trying to secure the COVID relief check.
People without an online bank account to receive a direct deposit or a fixed, physical address for a physical stimulus check are at a greater disadvantage when it comes to receiving the payment.
How to get a stimulus check without a fixed address or tax return on file
In October of 2020, the IRS recommended that people experiencing homelessness could qualify for a stimulus check by using the Non-Filer: Enter Payment Info Here tool.
Those people who missed the Non-Filer deadline of Nov. 21, 2020, were told to file a tax return and request the stimulus payment as a Recovery Rebate Credit.
While it is harder for many homeless Americans to receive the third stimulus check, they can still qualify and get the money if they know what steps to take. Now, people are working to spread that knowledge.
“I was really upset that homeless people did not have access to the $1,400 stimulus check,” model and activist Hamdia Ahmed tweeted Monday. “I just found this out. If you are homeless, you can go to a tax return office where they will file something called EIP return. They will put the money on a debit card after. Retweet.!”
People who missed the deadline but have a Social Security number and make $72,000 or less can still file taxes with a cellphone or on a public library computer using the IRS Free File Program.
But how can people without a permanent address receive the stimulus check? When filing taxes, the Federal Trade Commission recommends using the address of a local shelter, friend or family member.
Other options include using the address of a place of worship in the area or asking a local post office if they will hold one’s mail as general delivery.