Members of Congress Send Letter to Treasury and IRS Urging Action to Address Barriers to Accessing Economic Impact Payments for People Experiencing Homelessness

Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Marc Veasey (D-TX) led 40 of their colleagues in drafting an April 22 letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig urging them to address barriers that prevent individuals experiencing homelessness from accessing their Economic Impact Payments.  

The “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act” authorized one-time direct payments from the federal government known as Economic Impact Payments (EIPs). Eligible individuals can receive up to $1,200 plus $500 per eligible child under the age of 17. Individuals who filed taxes for 2018 or 2019, and recipients of certain benefit programs, will receive EIPs automatically. The IRS developed an online tool so people who did not file taxes can still receive EIP; as the letter points out, however, people experiencing homelessness have limited access to the internet, a problem exacerbated as public spaces like libraries close to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. People experiencing homelessness do not have permanent addresses and are likely unbanked, making it difficult to receive and deposit a physical stimulus check.  

The letter urges the IRS to develop guidance to ensure people experiencing homelessness are able to access the money to which they are entitled. The letter also calls for a congressional report on barriers to accessing EIPs for people experiencing homelessness and encourages the IRS to work with local and national organizations to perform outreach to homeless communities and mitigate barriers to obtaining stimulus payments.  

Read the letter at: