$500 Stimulus Child Benefits May Be Delayed Until 2021

A young boy crying in a chair
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Tens of millions of Americans have received their stimulus checks promised by the CARES Act, but not all for the right amount. In addition to some people who haven’t yet received their checks, some are finding out that the $500 benefit per dependent child might not be coming this year.

With millions of people out of work and millions more underemployed, this stimulus money is critical to help keep families afloat. For a family of four, that missing benefit amounts to $1,000. So how did this happen?

Why Child Benefits Aren’t Coming

Stories have popped up across the country of parents not getting the additional $500 per child in relief. The IRS warned that human error could create the issue, for instance, if a parent didn’t list a child as a dependent on their tax return, but in many cases, the money didn’t come despite parents doing everything right.

Another potential issue was caused by the rush to get any relief checks out. To aid people who didn’t file tax returns in 2018 or 2019, the IRS allowed non-filers to register for stimulus on its site.  However, the IRS also set an April 22nd deadline for non-filers to register dependent children, or else they wouldn’t receive the $500 benefit until they file a 2020 tax return. A group of senators wrote a letter asking for extended deadlines, but nothing changed.

What This Means

Many families who may have been unaware of the April 22 deadline are shutout from those benefits until next year. Generally, non-tax filing families are in lower-income brackets, meaning that those most in need of the relief may not see it for months.

Social security recipients, those with disabilities, and veterans are impacted as well since those groups don’t generally file taxes. According to the letter a group of senators sent to the IRS, more than 1 million families could be impacted.

For now, there’s no resolution. Non-filing families that haven’t gotten their $500 child benefit are unlikely to for the time being. The best thing to do is stay tuned to the news, and follow the next potential stimulus bill.