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Coronavirus stimulus checks didn’t make it to many of the poorest households


Only about 60% of adults living at or below the federal poverty level reported receiving a federal stimulus check, according to a new report.

Nearly 80% of eligible adults living above the poverty line received payments.

The report comes from the Washington DC-based Tax Policy Center. It found adults who did not receive payments were disproportionately Black and Hispanic.

Janet Holtzblatt worked on the report. She said there were three primary barriers to receiving payment - people hadn’t filed tax returns, didn’t have internet access, or didn’t have bank accounts.

On a small scale, Holtzblatt said, the IRS sent out debit cards to persons without bank accounts.

“That’s great but there was a problem. The problem was the prepaid debit cards came in envelopes with a private vendor name, not the treasury department.

Holtzblatt said it’s likely many of those envelopes were thrown away as junk.

Another barrier, according to Holtzblatt, was that residents didn’t have access to the internet and couldn’t get to the IRS’ online portal.

“And the places they would go typically, the public libraries, have been closed in many places due to the coronavirus.”

Holtzblatt said as congress considers a second round of payments more needs to be done to ensure those payments make it to the households that need them the most.