How Homeless People Can Get the $1,400 Incentive Check — And How Others Can Help – Community News
Stimulus Check

How Homeless People Can Get the $1,400 Incentive Check — And How Others Can Help

People who are homeless run the risk of not receiving the final payment at all.

It’s not a fitness issue. It’s about access.

The full payment of $1,400 must go to anyone earning less than $75,000 in adjusted gross income, householders earning less than $112,500, and married couples earning less than $150,000.

But because the government uses tax records to identify and send payments, many homeless people who fail to file tax returns because of their low incomes are left out.

Lawyers and solutions for people without housing can help them overcome barriers and receive their incentive payments.

The biggest problem: not filing a tax return

Many people without housing may not file tax returns because their income is too low to require it.

Last year, the IRS had a “non-filers tool” for people who didn’t file taxes to claim their payments, but it has since been deactivated. Now the only way for non-filers to get checks is to claim them as a discount on their 2020 tax returns.
The IRS recently announced that the tax deadline has moved from April to mid-May.
Homeless people earning less than $72,000 can file their taxes for free through the IRS.
The IRS also offers free personal assistance programs. Most services will run through mid-April, although it’s not clear whether the free services will continue into May now that the submission deadline has been extended.
The United Way has a website dedicated to pandemic-related financial aid and partners with, a free tax filing service focused on incentive payments, and offers assistance from IRS-certified volunteers.

People can also call United Way’s 211 Economic Impact Payment Helpline at 844-322-3639.

People without housing may not have a permanent address

Without a permanent address, filing taxes — and receiving the stimulus payment you’re applying for — can get complicated.

Free tax resources and trained volunteers can help determine the best address to include on tax forms, whether it’s a PO Box, or the address of a friend or relative.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lists a number of options for IRS mail correspondence, including shelters, service providers, or places of worship that hold mail for customers; friends or relatives; rented mailboxes or even, as a last resort, General Delivery, a USPS service that offers a temporary mailing address.

The stimulus may come in a prepaid debit card

Without bank account information, the IRS can issue incentive payments in the form of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) cards.

While information on EIP cards related to the most recent incentive package is available, the IRS requires a physical address to send the payment.
Those looking to open a bank account may want to consider BankOn, a project of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, which connects people without a bank account to banks it says it is “safe and affordable”.

There are other challenges, but they can be navigated

Tax filing and an IRS-acceptable address are tasks made more difficult by a lack of information and access. It is even more challenging than usual for homeless people to access the Internet, as many public libraries that offer free Internet access remain closed due to the pandemic.

To learn more about connecting homeless people to online resources, advocates can visit the Get It Back campaign.

The Get It Back campaign, which helps eligible employees claim tax credits and use free tax filing assistance, has a number of cross- and intra-community help resources, such as flyers, social media images and telephone scripts to inform people about receiving their stimulus payments.

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