IRS begins taking stimulus check questions over the phone

May 22, 2020
In The News

Nearly two months after the law was signed to distribute stimulus checks to millions of Americans, the Internal Revenue Service is starting to answer questions about the payments over the phone. 

The IRS announced this week that it will add 3,500 representatives to assist Americans seeking information about the economic impact payments. The phone number is (800) 919-9835. 

While the agency's telephone services will be limited, it should help many people who are having difficulty finding information about the payments. The IRS launched an online tool, Get My Payment, that provides updates on the status of the stimulus checks. But for those without internet service, they didn't have a way of seeking assistance. 

It was an issue that captured the attention of two New York congressmen, U.S. Reps. Antonio Delgado and John Katko. Delgado, a Democrat, and Katko, a Republican, wrote a letter to the IRS last month asking the agency to restore customer service operations. The IRS shut down its customer service hotlines due to the pandemic. 

"Individuals and families across central New York remain confused and frustrated with the current IRS processes in place," Katko said in a statement. "With many experiencing difficulties finding reliable information on the status of their (economic impact payments), I welcome this change by the IRS." 

Delgado added, "This is a first step — I will keep demanding answers on behalf of my upstate residents to ensure every single person gets the economic impact statement they are entitled to by law." 

A $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill signed in March allocated funds for the economic impact payments. Single filers who earn no more than $75,000 annually will receive $1,200 stimulus checks. Couples filing jointly will get $2,400 checks if they earn up to $150,000 a year. 

Filers would also receive $500 payments for children ages 16 and under. 

In early May, the IRS released state-level data detailing how many taxpayers have already received their economic impact payments. So far, more than 7.7 million New Yorkers have received their stimulus checks. More than $12.5 billion has been paid to New Yorkers, according to the agency.