Veterans Affairs officials are reminding families who missed out on some coronavirus stimulus checks last spring that they have a few more weeks left to claim that cash.
In a social media post Friday morning, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie urged veterans who think they may be eligible for the money to contact the Internal Revenue Service and see if they are owed any money.
At issue are payments of up to $500 per dependent child for disabled veterans who do not typically meet the threshold for filing annual income tax returns. The money was part of a massive emergency spending package pass in the spring designed to offset financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, then in its initial months.
After Congress approved one-time payouts of up to $1,200 per person, the IRS struggled to get those stimulus checks to some veterans whose current address and bank account information was not up-to-date in their systems.
The agency eventually partnered with VA officials to use some veterans benefits records to help with that challenge, but could not identify all of the individuals who may have been eligible to receive the additional $500 child payments along with the other stimulus payouts.
IRS officials set up a special registration site for veterans and other Americans who don’t regularly file annual tax returns, but set a cutoff of early May to apply. Agency leaders said individuals who missed out on that deadline would have to wait until spring 2021 to receive the money as part of next year’s income tax returns.
But late last week, IRS officials reopened the application process. Veterans who missed out on the child credits now have until Sept. 30 to register, with payouts expected to be delivered by mid-October.
“To help with this, we are allocating additional IRS resources to ensure eligible recipients receive their full payments during this challenging time,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.
In addition, veterans who did not receive their $1,200 stimulus checks in the spring can also register with the department in an attempt to get that money this fall.
Officials did not say how many veterans may still be eligible for the payouts, but advocates have said that the money could be a critical lifeline for low-income families facing new challenges related to closings of businesses, public offices and other community assistance programs related to coronavirus.
The IRS non-filers tool is available on the agency’s web site.
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.