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Fortune poll: How many Americans are still waiting for their coronavirus stimulus checks

May 4, 2020, 10:43 PM UTC

Stimulus checks were suppose to give Americans some financial cushion as shutdowns linger on, but as May bills come due, over half of the nation hasn’t received a check.

Only 41% of U.S. adults say they’ve received a stimulus check, finds a Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll of 4,717 U.S. adults* between April. 25-28. Another 56% they have not received a check—which can be worth as much as $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples, plus $500 for each qualifying child.

On Friday the the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department announced it had issued 120 million stimulus checks, by both paper check and direct deposit. That was up from 87 million on April 17—but still well under the 170 million total checks it plans to send out. Much of the delay results from the Internal Revenue Service waiting longer to mail out paper checks to Americans without their checking information on file.

But even as the IRS gets out more checks, confusion remains.

The stimulus check program excluded dependents, undocumented immigrants, and individual filers with adjusted gross incomes above $99,000. But many Americans are still confused if they’ll get a check: A total of 11% of U.S. adults haven’t received a check and aren’t sure if they’re eligible.

Many U.S. adults who are unsure if they’ll get a check, have reported being unable to log in into the IRS’s Get My Payment portal (some reported success using this trick).

Only 1 in 5 adult Gen Zers have received their stimulus check, compared to just over 1 in 2 of Millennials. This divide is driven by the fact individuals who are claimed as dependents aren’t eligible for the check.

And Baby Boomers are less likely to say they’ve received their check compared to Millennials and Gen Xers. But many of these Baby Boomers, unlike ineligible Gen Zers, are simply waiting on their check. That delay make sense: Stimulus checks were delayed for those who receive Social Security benefits and railroad retirement benefits; those checks starting going out at the end of April.

Most Americans are using their check to pay non-housing bills (41%), buy groceries (33%), or household essentials (28%). Americans often use their income tax return on things like a new car or booking travel. But only 1% made travel plans with their stimulus check, and just 2% invested in stocks with the money.

But 25% are holding onto some of the money in savings—likely in case things take a turn for the worse.

*Methodology: The Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll was conducted among a national sample of 4,717 adults in the U.S. between April 25-28. This survey’s modeled error estimate is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The findings have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography.


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