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'They have no other options:' Hotline helps people waiting on stimulus checks

Stimulus payment
Posted at 5:25 AM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 18:10:18-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If you received your stimulus check in mid-April, you may be surprised to learn more than 30 million payments remain in limbo.

The frustrated people waiting on that money have called the 41 Action News I-Team, saying it's hard to get any answers.

Legal Aid of Western Missouri has been hearing the same complaints through its CARES hotline.

The calls can be difficult and heartbreaking for staff members to take.

"We've had more than one person who their abusive ex-spouse got their payments and is withholding it," James Boyce, Supervising Attorney of the LAWMO Consumer Protection Unit, said. "When you speak to these people, they just have no other options."

The CARES hotline launched about two months ago, and there's a major demand. About 500 calls have come in so far, with 39 states represented.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates at least 143,000 Missourians are
waiting on payments.

"I think it's telling that the people who have experienced the most delays are the people we serve, low-income people who don't have bank accounts, who don't have a paid tax preparer, who don't have the information or the access to the tools," Boyce said.

The issues LAWMO is seeing include:

  • Clients whose 2019 tax returns have been "processing" for months
  • Clients who need to use the "non-filer" portal to make a claim but do not have internet access or technological capability
  • Clients whose stimulus payments were stolen by an identity theft
  • Clients whose payment was offset to their spouse's child support debt

If you call the hotline at 1-800-990-2907, a Legal Aid staff member will ask you several questions to figure out if you're eligible for a payment and to determine the status of your check. That process often starts with walking clients through the "Get My Payment" tool on the IRS website.

The CARES hotline also offers free advice regarding unemployment benefits.

The Rebound Kansas City is our effort is to help metro residents play a role in moving our community forward. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas via email to rebound@kshb.com and we welcome you to join in the conversation on the Rebound KC Facebook Group.

Whether you're Getting Back to Work after a layoff, need help Making Ends Meet during these trying times or need tips on Managing the Pressure we're all feeling, The Rebound has resources to find help. We'll also make sure local leaders are Doing What's Right to get Kansas City back on track after a three-month shutdown.

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