400,000 Ohioans missing out on $360 million in stimulus payments
Posted July 15, 2020 in Press Releases
Governor DeWine’s administration can help with aggressive outreach
About 12 million Americans – including nearly 400,000 in Ohio alone – risk missing out on the federal stimulus payments provided through the recent CARES Act if they don’t file a form to receive it, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Ohioans could lose out on about $358 million dollars, which — if delivered and spent — would help people who are struggling to make ends meet and give state and local economies a much-needed boost.
“The CARES Act payments are a key tool to help families get through this unprecedented health and economic crisis,” said Kalitha Williams, project director of Policy Matters Ohio. “Governor DeWine must ensure that thousands of Ohioans get this relief which will help them cope with losing jobs and income while also stimulating the economy.”
Reaching and enrolling the nearly 400,000 Ohioans eligible for this payment is an important step in building an economic recovery that doesn’t leave anyone behind. More than half of Black households in Ohio have lost some employment income due to the pandemic, according to Census data reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer. Longstanding discrimination confines many Black and brown Ohioans to lower paying jobs without health care benefits and with more risk of exposure to the coronavirus. The Ohio Minority Health Strike Force reports that Black and Latino communities are contracting COVID-19 at higher rates than white Ohioans.
As of June 26, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has distributed over $260 billion dollars in federal stimulus payments, including 6 million payments to Ohioans totaling over $10 billion dollars. The IRS, working with the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, has been automatically delivering these payments to tens of millions of people who regularly file federal income taxes or receive certain federally administered benefits. The automatic payment method misses about 12 million people nationally and nearly 400,000 Ohioans who don’t participate in one of those specified, federally administered programs and whose incomes are so low that they are not required to file federal income tax returns. These Ohioans are more likely to be people of color, parents who are paid low wages, and people without secure housing.
The DeWine administration and state leaders can play a central role in reaching these individuals. Nearly three in four Americans who could miss out on their federal stimulus payment receive benefits from SNAP (formerly food stamps) or Medicaid, which are administered by states and counties. The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services and the Ohio Department of Medicaid can inform their clients about how to claim their stimulus payments.
“Over 1.4 million Ohioans have filed for unemployment in the past few months, including many who still have not received their stimulus checks,” said Bill Faith, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. “This is a simple, low-cost, easy way for the administration to help hundreds of thousands of families keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table.”
The DeWine administration should provide state CARES Act funding to organizations that help low-income Ohioans claim their federal stimulus payments. There have been reports of people having difficulty using the available IRS online tools to claim the payments. Homeless shelters, organizations that provide free tax preparation services, community action agencies and other organizations helping Ohioans claim their federal stimulus payments are already stretched thin providing relief to communities struggling with COVID-19.
Megan Riddlebarger, executive director of the Corporation for Appalachian Development (COAD) said Ohioans in the state’s 30-county Appalachian region have not yet received an estimated $107 million in economic impact payments. COAD’s network of community action agencies are ready to assist the Ohioans who may qualify. “These funds won’t just help our low-income families,” she said, “they will help the economies where these citizens live.”