Veterans who missed out on economic stimulus checks connected to the coronavirus outbreak have only until tomorrow to register dependents with the Internal Revenue Service or miss out on potentially hundreds of dollars until 2021.
Last month, Department of Treasury officials set a May 5 deadline for those veterans to update their eligibility information for the payments, which can total $1,200 per individual and $500 per dependent.
VA officials have issued alerts in recent days to warn veterans they “may need to act by May 5” to ensure their payments. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee leaders have been putting out the message on social media frequently, similarly imploring veterans to act.
At issue are disabled veterans who receive payouts from the Department of Veterans Affairs but do not earn enough income to file tax returns annually. Because of that, IRS officials do not have current bank accounts for those individuals, and have had difficulty getting the stimulus checks to veterans.
Late last month, VA officials announced they had partnered with the Treasury department to use veterans’ benefits accounts to route the stimulus money. That ensures that individuals eligible for the $1,200 checks will receive them in coming weeks.
But because of the way those disability accounts are set up, IRS officials could not see whether those disabled veterans also had eligible dependents. Without registering that information, those additional payouts will be delayed until veterans tax returns next spring.
“(Veterans) need to act quickly and use the non-filers tool on IRS.gov to get the extra $500 per child added to their payment,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement.
The IRS site requires veterans to submit their names, Social Security numbers (including for spouse and dependents), mailing address and a bank routing number where the money can be sent.
IRS officials have promised that veterans still awaiting their $1,200 payments should see stimulus checks starting soon. Social Security retirement recipients, survivors or disability insurance benefits participants and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries are scheduled to receive their checks in early May.
The stimulus checks were part of a $2 trillion economic relief package passed by Congress at the start of April.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.