IRS 2020 stimulus check payments short, left out money for kids, parents say

IRS: Eligible taxpayers with smaller-than-expected stimulus payments may qualify to receive additional money when they file 2020 federal income tax return
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Several people told the ABC 7 I-Team that they never received stimulus money earmarked for their children.

Alisha Terry said she had no trouble receiving her stimulus check. It was deposited right into her account. But when she checked the amount, she said something was off.

The Roseland woman said she received $1,200, but the money that she was supposed to receive for her kids wasn't there.

She has three children, ages 16, 12 and 1, which means $1,500 is missing.

"And I was confused, like, where is the money for my kids?" Terry said. "How could you make that type of mistake if you're going off of my taxes?"

Rachel Heneghan in Wheaton has three children who all have special needs. She said she was shorted $500 for one of her children, just like Terry. She's a taxpayer and isn't sure how the government could make this mistake.

"I'm upset because we were expecting that money," Heneghan said. "We were told we were going to get it, and while $500 may not seem like a lot it is for our family because we have a lot of needs."

After bringing the complaints to the IRS, they pointed to their website, which confirms that parents who are eligible for stimulus payments will receive $500 for each child under 17. The website further explains that each child must have lived with the parent/guardian for more than half the year, and they must have provided at least half of their support. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/e-poster_payments.pdf

Terry and Heneghan said based on those rules, all of their kids should have qualified.

So what went wrong? U.S. Representative Robin Kelly said complaints about missing stimulus checks are a direct result of the Trump administration's mishandling of the payment process.

"It's very annoying," Kelly said. "It's very frustrating that some of our most vulnerable populations are still waiting for their money but I attribute that to the disorganization and delay of the Trump administration."

In a statement to the ABC 7 I-Team, U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger said in part, "I think we need to remember that the goal of the Economic Impact Payment program was to get money into the hands of Americans as soon as possible, recognizing that there would inherently be hiccups and glitches that would need to be ironed out...Faulting the Administration does nothing to improve a system that had to be put together overnight and does nothing to help the American people."

In the meantime, Terry continues to check her bank account every day, hoping that the $1,500 the government promised will eventually appear.

"If you say you're going to do something, that's what I expect," she said.

The IRS says that eligible taxpayers who received a smaller-than-expected stimulus payment may qualify to receive an additional amount early next year when they file their 2020 federal income tax return.

To learn more about why your stimulus payment may have been smaller than expected, click here.
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