KEY POINTS

  • The unclaimed $1,200 stimulus payments were included in the CARES Act
  • Uncashed checks are voided 12 months after the date of issuance
  • Americans can still claim their missed payments by filing a Recovery Rebate Rate

More than $2 billion worth of stimulus checks remain unclaimed or uncashed, according to data from the Internal Revenue Services.  

The Economic Impact Payment, which is included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), provided eligible Americans with $1,200 per adult and an additional $500 per child dependent. 

While most of the checks have been delivered via direct deposit or paper checks, there are 1.25 million checks that were left uncashed, unclaimed or returned to the U.S. Treasury, the IRS said. The outstanding checks have a total value of roughly $2.1 billion. 

Among all U.S. states, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Michigan had the highest percentage of unclaimed checks per capita. Over 72,000 checks have yet to be claimed in Pennsylvania alone, a Newsweek analysis of data from the IRS found.

In comparison, the states with the lowest number of unclaimed checks by population include Arizona, Texas, Utah and California. However, with over 123,000 unclaimed checks overall, the raw numbers show California has the highest total number of direct payments that have not been cashed across the country. 

Eligible recipients have 12 months to cash their stimulus checks. After the one-year period beginning from the date of issuance, the checks become void. This means Americans who were eligible under the CARES Act and received their checks, which the IRS issued more than a year ago, can no longer cash them, Fool.com explained. 

However, it is still possible to request the missed payments for those who didn't receive a check through their 2020 tax return by filing a Recovery Rebate Rate. Americans who have yet to receive one or more of the stimulus checks can request the unclaimed amount on line 30 of the 1040 or 1040-SR tax form. 

Americans planning to file for their returns have to meet the May 17, 2021 deadline for the 2020 tax year.

If a CARES Act check was lost, stolen or destroyed, recipients can contact the IRS to request for re-issuance of payment, the IRS said in a statement.  

The agency has also launched a “Get My Payment” tool to help Americans determine whether they have received or are entitled to receive stimulus money. 

Stimulus Checks Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing at the Philadelphia Financial Center May 8, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One hundred and thirty million households are eligible to receive a tax rebate check under the $168 billion economic stimulus plan. Photo: Jeff Fusco/Getty Images