Millions of American citizens are currently at risk of not being able to receive their $1,200 stimulus checks as one research claims that about 12 million people could find they have lost the opportunity to get their payments.

First stimulus check

According to CNBC, the statistics come from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The non-partisan research and policy institute got its data based on estimates from the Census Bureau.

Under the CARES Act, Congress approved the distribution of stimulus checks to millions of eligible Americans with a total fund of $2 trillion. The payments amounted up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for legally married couples, and $500 for every dependent under 17 years old.

The payment was focused on low- to middle-income citizens, and phase-out began at an income of $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for household heads, and $150,000 for legally married couples.

A total of 159 million payments have been sent out as of June 5, as reported by Business Insider. Estimates say, however, that around 30 to 35 million more payments need to be distributed.

The eligible citizens could become difficult to reach as many of the people either have not filed their tax returns or are not recipients of federal government benefits, making them prone to being looked over.

The solution that the IRS has come up with is by using a non-filer online tool that enables the affected individuals and families to apply with their information and be eligible to receive their payments.

For this year's distributions, they must fill out the online form before October 15. Otherwise, they risk not receiving their checks this year and can only do so by filing a tax return next year.

This information, however, is not accessible by millions of Americans, fears the centre. Senior tax policy analyst at the centre, Kris Cox, said: "We think there are efforts, far beyond the IRS' outreach, that would increase the number of people in this population who would actually receive their payments."

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Who are at risk?

The 12 million that could potentially not receive their payment include those who have been earning for an extended period, low-income families who have children and low-income individuals who do not have dependents.

The breakdown of the number puts nine million at risk because they have not filed tax returns for either 2018 or 2019, along with those who are not recipients of federal benefits but do receive assistance through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Medicaid.

Out of the nine million people, statistics show 27% are black, and 19% are Latino, owing to historical racism and discrimination as they are more likely to have lower incomes.

The three million other potential victims also did not file tax returns in the previous two years but are also not recipients of support from SNAP or Medicaid.

The centre, fortunately, found that governors and other officials are working on getting the payments distributed to these people.

SNAP and Medicaid can be used to communicate with the nine million citizens on how to get their payments. The remaining three million would need public education efforts or aid groups that could potentially have contacts with them.

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