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Who You Gonna Call for An Update On Your Stimulus Check? The IRS, At Last.

The agency is hiring thousands of live telephone reps to field all your questions about when and where your promised government money might arrive.


The IRS, like all other government agencies and operations, has been hamstrung by lockdown restrictions. Specifically, it has had to limit its customer-service capabilities across the board. The timing was less than ideal. In late March, the federal government passed its landmark, $2 trillion CARES Act, which included a provision for all American households to receive a one-time stimulus payment of as much as $1,200 per individual and $500 per child.

Getty Images/Marekuliasz

Distribution of funds was contingent on the IRS having records of potential recipients' tax filings from one of the past two years, and a special site was set up with guidance and FAQs. And compared to the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, its rollout has been a relatively uncomplicated success, with nearly 130 million payments allotted by direct deposit or paper check between mid-April and the second week of May, and four million prepaid debit cards being mailed as we speak. (Though some critics of the initial round of funding feel a ceiling of $1,200-per-person was too low, and there remains talk of a second round of similar stimulus.)

Related: Where's My Stimulus Check?

Nevertheless, there are still those in need who are waiting for that financial lift and whose questions require bypassing an automated call center or boilerplate fact sheet. The process has been particularly complex for Social Security beneficiaries, veterans, immigrants and those without an existing bank account, among others. And so yesterday, without much fanfare, the IRS announced it is hiring 3,500 telephone representatives to directly field inquiries from anxious Americans.

The number to call is 800-919-9835. When we dialed in this morning, it remained difficult to get through to a live representative, though the IRS's statement does emphasize that "telephone assistance and other services will remain limited, and answers for most of the common questions related to Economic Impact Payments are available on," adding, "The IRS anticipates bringing back additional assistors as state and local advisories permit."

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