No checking account? Last in line for the Economic Stimulus Rebate


You'll note from my story earlier today that U.S. citizens eligible for the one-time Election Year RebateEconomic Stimulus Rebate will receive this money up to almost two months earlier if they have direct deposit than if it is sent by check. For many who can't afford a checking account or don't choose to have one, the delay is just another hidden cost of attempting to live out of the banking loop.

Perhaps these people are unimportant, or the IRS views this payment as good bait to coerce these people into getting with the documented money flow program. Paying them last seems wrong-headed, as these people are almost guaranteed to put the money into circulation quickly. I wonder if the IRS could have adopted a pre-paid debit card program similar to that announced by the Social Security Administration in January of this year. Such cards would have allowed the IRS to directly distribute funds to those without bank accounts, and given those recipients an easier way to spend their money.

There are other aspects of the rebate that might surprise recipients, such as:

  • Those who split their 2006 direct deposit tax refund this year among several accounts will receive a paper check rather than direct deposit.

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) doesn't count toward eligibility, although Social Security income and veteran's disability does.

  • You must file a tax return this year, even if you don't owe any taxes, in order to get your rebate.