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VERIFY: There’s no EIP tax return, but homeless might qualify for $1,400 stimulus

There are ways to get an EIP card mailed to you, even if you don't have a mailing address.

A social media user’s tweet went wild online with a call to action to spread the word for how homeless people could access the latest $1,400 stimulus checks.

The tweet, however, gets a few of the key details wrong in explaining how homeless people can actually access the relief money.

THE QUESTION

Can a homeless person go into an IRS office, fill out an “EIP return” and then get a $1,400 debit card?

WHY WE ARE VERIFYING

The tweet has been shared hundreds of thousands of times in recent days, urged on with a message to “retweet!” 

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THE ANSWER

No, the IRS says, there is no such thing as an EIP, or Economic Impact Payment, tax return. But the homeless might get a stimulus payment if they meet requirements set out in the American Rescue Plan.

WHAT WE FOUND

Although appearing well-intended, the viral tweet is missing key details. For one, an IRS spokesman explained, no one can show up at an IRS office without an appointment — a policy in place even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

To qualify for a stimulus check, you must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien, not be someone else’s dependent, have a valid Social Security number and not exceed the income limits outlined in the American Rescue Plan. All the details can be found here. 

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For the third stimulus check, you must have filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return. Unlike the first two stimulus payouts, this time there is no non-filer status for those who earned too little to do a tax return. But if you received non-filer status in the previous rounds of stimulus, relax: you still get the money.

And if you make an IRS appointment, don’t expect to walk out with a debit card loaded with stimulus bucks. “Certainly nobody is going to be handing you that amount of money at an IRS center,” the spokesman said. 

Instead, watch your mail like a hawk for a stimulus check or debit card, the IRS advises. The EIP card will come in a white envelope with a U.S. Treasury seal. And if you get a card, pay attention to the fees listed.

Homeless people can get a P.O. box from a local post office if approved by the postmaster and if they meet one of these conditions: the window clerk or postmaster knows the person, an unknown applicant submits a proper ID, or the person provides a verifiable point of contact such as a shelter or charitable institution. If a homeless person can’t meet any of those requirements, the U.S. Postal Service can provide general delivery service, which the person can pick up at the post office.

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