More controversy is brewing over the third round of stimulus checks.
This time it is House Democrats who are unhappy that many people who are elderly, disabled, or veterans are facing delayed stimulus payments.
The problem relates to people who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement Board, or Veterans Affairs benefits.
These are typically people who don’t have to file tax returns.
They still have not gotten their third stimulus checks while millions of other Americans have. And that is not good considering these are some of the most financially vulnerable people.
“The SSA has to get the damn files to the IRS. They should have had it there yesterday so we can get these payments out. They should have got it last week. These are some of our most vulnerable neighbors,” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) told The Hill.
“They’re the ones that are getting shafted because government agencies are not doing what they’re supposed to do.”
Senior members of the House Ways and Means Committee pointed out that the issue is likely the fault of the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Basically, the IRS had requested payment files about two weeks before Biden signed the pandemic relief law into effect on March 11 for these individuals that number nearly 30 million. However, these files were not made ready in time.
The SSA stated that they were in discussions with the IRS ahead of time but that they did not have the authorization to send the files over before the pandemic relief was enacted.
So House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), John Larson (D-Conn.) and Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) wrote a demand letter to SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul.
“We demand that you immediately provide the IRS with this information by tomorrow.”
Reportedly, the SSA stated that these final files will be delivered to the IRS by Thursday.
“Social Security staff is working day and night with Treasury and IRS representatives to ensure that the electronic file of Social Security and SSI recipients is complete, accurate, and ready to be used to issue payments,” said SSA spokesperson Mark Hinkle.
So hopefully we will see this issue resolved by the end of the week.
There is a sizable group of people who have not received the full amount that they expected for the third round of stimulus checks.
In fact, a lot of these people actually only received half of the amount of stimulus funds that they were expecting.
Apparently, a lot of families that had joint filers are having the payments split and sent in separate transactions.
In some cases, these payments might even be going out in different routes.
So one spouse might receive a direct deposit in their bank account and the other spouse may receive a paper check or debit card.
Many people found that when they checked the IRS get my payment tool for a second time, the expected payment dates actually changed.
So if you don’t end up receiving your payment when you expect it, you might want to check that tool again and see if your payment date has changed.
Keep in mind that the next big batch of payments is expected to start going out tomorrow on the official payment date of March 24.
“A large number of this latest batch of payments will also be mailed, so taxpayers who do not receive a direct deposit by March 24 should watch the mail carefully in the coming weeks for a paper check or a prepaid debit card, known as an Economic Impact Payment Card, or EIP Card,” the IRS stated.
Yesterday, we heard about how many Americans were upset that payments were being delayed by some of the largest banks in the country.
Some even felt that this delay (which only lasted a couple of days) was intentional in order to allow the banks to maximize profit off fees such as overdraft fees.
But now a group of banking and credit union industry groups are defending the banks from criticism in an attempt to explain what has happened.
“The IRS recently sent an initial wave of tens of millions of economic impact payments via the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system,” the banking groups said.
“The actual funds will be sent to the banks and credit unions on March 17, at which time funds will be made available to customers. Until that time, the funds remain with the government.”
“While the IRS could have chosen to send the funds via Same Day ACH or provided for an earlier effective date, it chose not to do so,” they added.
“It is up to the sender, in this case the IRS, to decide when it wants the money to be made available and the IRS chose March 17.”
So according to these groups, the blame is really on the IRS for choosing not to send the funds via same day ACH.
Why wouldn’t the IRS send out the payments quicker? Who knows, perhaps it has something to do with tax time?
Or maybe they just did not anticipate the backlash that would occur when payments started going out before their official payment date.
I’m sure many people may not buy this explanation but it does make sense to me. The payments still seem to be set to go out on time since March 17 was always the official payment date.
Regardless of where you stand, at least we know that payments will start going out tomorrow from these large banking institutions and will arrive in the bank accounts of millions of Americans.
Stimulus checks are now being processed and millions of Americans are set to receive them over the next couple of weeks.
Some Americans are reportedly already receiving their checks. For example, Chime, the digital banking app, said on Friday that it had already delivered about $600 million in payments to around 250,000 customers.
“We’ve already made ~$600M available to 250k members. These payments will be available at traditional banks on 3/17 but Chime members already have access and more is on the way,” Chime stated on Twitter.
But others will be forced to wait at least a couple of more days.
The delay, while short, is proving to be controversial for a lot of people.
That is because Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase told customers that they may not receive their stimulus checks until at least Wednesday.
The reason that so many customers are unhappy is not so much about the length of the delay but why the delay is happening.
Some people believe the banks are intentionally delaying payments because they make a lot of money on fees such as overdraft charge fees.
Reportedly, these big banks make around $5 million per day on overdraft fees. (I have not personally fact checked this number.)
Wells Fargo spokesperson Jim Seitz attempted to clear up the situation.
“We know the importance of the stimulus funds to our customers, and we are providing the payments to our customers as soon as possible on the date the funds are available, based on IRS direction,” Seitz said.
“Wells Fargo is not holding the funds.”
Personally, it is odd that some lenders have already sent out so many payments over the weekend and these big banks for some reason don’t have that capability.
But I also question why those institutions would risk such a massive controversy when they would only be set to make $5 million on a couple of days (which is hardly anything for them).
I know these banks can be ruthless but the risk versus reward just doesn’t make sense to me.
It seems to me that the most likely culprit is some administrative or bureaucratic BS that is slowing down the process by a few days.
Remember, the IRS publicized Wednesday as the official payment date.
So while other banks have been ahead of the curve, if these big banks still send out the payments on Wednesday they are in line with the IRS deadline.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.