Jobless Americans wait in limbo for stimulus check

Millions of Americans are not only waiting to receive stimulus checks, they're relying on it to keep the lights on.

The IRS is currently processing payments, starting with those who requested direct deposit.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Everything You Need to Know

But every day that goes by, families are left struggling, including a young woman from D.C. who is very concerned for her parents.

"My main question is, are my parents gonna have this money? Cause we need to rely on it, there's no other way," said Diana Contreras.

Contreras is a student at GW. She says it's hard to focus on her studies after seeing her parents both lose their jobs and struggle to find ways to pay their bills.


Her mother Maria used to clean buildings and her father Artemio worked at a restaurant. They're now both at home.

"To see their frustration it frustrates me. I can't really focus on school because it's affecting me too. I feel like what can I do?! There's nothing I can do to help them, so yeah it's been hard," she said.

And like millions of other Americans who are unemployed, with no source of income coming in, the Contreras family is anxiously waiting for their federal stimulus check as just one small support to get through the coronavirus health crisis.

"I really hope my mom gets this check because we really need it.... And there are no jobs, there are no more options. This is the only hope we have right now," said Contreras.

Kyle Pomerleau, a tax policy expert with the American Enterprise Institute says "If you've filed your tax returns this year or last year, the IRS already has your information that it needs to determine eligibility. If you haven't filed, you'd need to file in order for the IRS to get you the checks."


The Internal Revenue Service plans to start generating electronic checks for the first group of recipients, about 50 million Americans.

As to how soon those checks will arrive?"

Pomerleau says if you chose the direct deposit option you could receive a payment within the next two weeks.

If you chose a check option, it could take 3 months to get your payment.

If you're not sure whether or not you qualify for the $1200 or $2400 checks, check our online stimulus calculator.