CONSUMER CATCH-UP: IRS launches online form for non-filers to get stimulus payments, lawmakers want to protect payments from debt collectors, and State Farm, Liberty Mutual give discounts to customers

BySimone Chavoor KGO logo
Friday, April 10, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- IRS launches new tool for those who don't file taxes to receive their stimulus payments

The IRS has launched a new website where those who usually don't need to file taxes can provide their information so that they can receive their stimulus payments.

Most Americans do not have to do anything to receive their "Economic Impact Payment." If you've filed your taxes for 2018 or 2019, or if you receive Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance, or Railroad Retirement benefits, the Treasury will use your information already on file to send you your payment.

However, some people were left in the lurch, including people who do not make enough money to have to file taxes, and those who receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The IRS's new website will also allow people to claim a dependent child if the Treasury did not already have that information -- for example, people on Social Security Disability Insurance would be able to ensure they got their additional $500 payment for an eligible child.

The portal is free to use, and will not result in you owing taxes.

The IRS is also launching a second online tool, called "Get My Payment," which is expected to be live mid-April. This tool will allow people to track if their payment is processing, and allow them to update their address or direct deposit payment information.

Visit the IRS's form for non-filers here.

Senators ask for stimulus payments to be protected from debt collectors

Lawmakers are looking for assurance that private debt collectors will not be able to claim Americans' stimulus payments.

Senators Sharrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), both members of the members of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, wrote an open letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday. The senators asked that the Treasury "take immediate action to ensure that American families receive the full amount of the direct payments" and "protect CARES Act direct payments from being seized to satisfy garnishment orders for private debts."

The senators noted that the Treasury already has rules stating that "two months of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and other federal payments are protected from being garnished by private debt collectors," indicating the Treasury has the power to extend those protections.

Current rules say that the only exception to the private debt protection are child support payments; in their letter, the senators also offer that as an exception to extended protections.

"If Treasury fails to take action, the CARES Act direct payments are at risk of being seized by debt collectors. That is not what Congress intended. We came together to pass the CARES Act to help American families pay for food, medicine, and other basic necessities during this crisis," Sen. Brown and Sen. Hawley concluded.

State Farm, Liberty Mutual discount auto insurance customers' premiums

State Farm and Liberty Mutual are the latest auto insurance companies to cut their customers a break.

With people sheltering in place -- and therefore barely driving anywhere -- auto insurance companies are returning the money saved back to customers in the form of discounts on their premiums. State Farm will return $2 billion to their auto insurance customers, estimating it will result in a 25% discount for most customers' premiums. "With schools and businesses closed, and many of us sheltering in our homes, people are driving less right now, so we're returning value to customers as we anticipate fewer auto claims," the company said in a release.

Liberty Mutual is also giving back to its customers with a 15% premium discount that the company say amounts to $250 million returned to its customers.

Allstate and Geico, among others, have already committed to give their customers discounts because of the coronavirus.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.