QUESTION: I received in the mail an economic impact payment card. It is a Visa credit card for my stimulus money. I have not received a check or anything, and I don’t know if this is a scam or not. It says that it’s on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
ANSWER: Don’t throw it away. It’s real.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced a little more than a week ago that it was starting to send almost 4 million economic impact payments by a prepaid debit card instead of a paper check. Those debit cards specifically were going to “qualified individuals without bank information on file with the IRS, and whose tax return was processed by either the Andover or Austin IRS Service Center,” information from the Treasury Department said.
“Treasury has already delivered more than 140 million economic impact payments worth $239 billion to Americans by direct deposit to accounts at financial institutions, Direct Express card accounts, and by check,” the agency said when it announced use of the cards. “The Treasury-sponsored EIP card is another method to provide money efficiently and securely to eligible recipients and their families.”
The treasury is using the firm MetaBank to mail the cards, because the federal government has worked with the company since 2016 to deliver payments not associated with specific federal benefits.
Now, I’ve already seen and heard about people who threw their cards away when they got them because they didn’t think they were real. If you’re one of those people, call 1 (800) 240-8100.
Q: I still haven’t received my economic impact payment and want to talk to someone to find out why. Who do I call?
A: I’ve answered a couple of questions about this but continue to get inquiries so I thought I’d address it again because I know it’s important. I’ll start by apologizing — I can’t help individual people determine specifically why they haven’t received their payment. The IRS has not finished sending payments and won’t for quite some time, so don’t despair.
Here are people who are supposed to automatically receive payments, without taking any additional steps: people who filed federal income taxes for 2018 or 2019; people who receive Social Security retirement, disability or survivor benefits; Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients; people who receive Veterans Affairs compensation; and people who receive railroad benefits.
If you don’t file taxes because you don’t make enough money, and you don’t fit into any of those other categories, you can find out if you are still eligible for a payment and file to receive a payment at irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here .
You can also check the status of your payment at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment .
Now, back to your original question — who to call. The IRS has been operating with limited phone service but has started to ramp that service back up.
If you call 1 (800) 919-9835, there’s a pretty lengthy prompt taking you through some basic information about Economic Impact Payments. Then, it appears to give you the possibility of waiting (probably a long time) to talk to a person. I’ll admit I tried it a couple of times and gave up waiting, so I can’t vouch for whether this is helpful right now. May the Force be with you.
Q: I’d like a phone number to reach the governor.
A: OK, so, truth: I’d say I’m 100 percent positive that you’re not going to be able to call and get him on the phone, but you can call this phone number if you’re wanting to leave a message to let the governor’s office know your opinion about something: 1 (800) 843-5789.