PR Treasury’s plan to distribute 2nd stimulus check still awaits US gov’t approval
By The Star Staff
The U.S. Treasury Department has yet to accept Puerto Rico’s plan to distribute the second stimulus checks of $600 in assistance to help islanders manage the economic setbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea said Thursday.
One of the things that still remains to be done is the mechanism that will enable the Treasury website to allow people to modify or change their bank account to receive the disbursement checks.
“We will be doing another Facebook Live on that soon,” the Treasury chief said.
In addition, Social Security beneficiaries would not have to complete any further paperwork because the agency already has the information they submitted to the agency during last year’s first round of stimulus checks consisting of $1,200 for individuals.
Parés said those individuals who have not submitted their 2019 income tax returns to the agency, a requirement for the disbursement of the $600, have until Jan. 15 to do so in order to receive the new checks. The new $600 checks are based on 2019 tax returns, while the first round of checks were based on either 2018 or 2019 filings. So if a person received a first stimulus check based on the 2018 return and his or her income went up in 2019, the person could see a reduced or no stimulus payment. Many eligibility restrictions have stayed the same. For example, an adult who has been claimed as a dependent will not receive a check.
The Treasury secretary said 2.8 million individuals on the island are expected to benefit from the new stimulus checks. He said that because the Treasury already has a taxpayer database, the process of disbursing the new checks is expected to move faster.
The distribution plan for the new $600 checks to individuals who make less than $75,000 and to their dependents is similar to the previous one.
“We use a similar plan as the one used under the CARES [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security] Act,” Parés said. “It contemplates the checks being distributed with the information we already have. As soon as the IRS approves it, we are ready to distribute the new checks.”
Individuals who never requested the stimulus checks will be able to request them through the 2020 income tax returns. Those who are not required to file income tax returns must still file the form to obtain the payments.
Parents who have not paid their child support obligations will be subject to an offset, which means that the money will go toward those payments.