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California stimulus checks: Why you may not have received a payment yet — or won’t at all

It’s been nearly two months since California began issuing Golden State Stimulus II payments of up to $1,100 for eligible residents.

While millions have already received the money, many Californians still have not been issued a payment.

As the state continues to roll out stimulus checks in the coming months, here are some possible reasons for delayed payments and why you might not have gotten one yet:

You may not qualify

The big reason why some haven’t received a payment yet — and likely won’t in the future — is that they simply don’t qualify.

Eligibility requirements are as follows: you must have been a California resident for most of last year and still live in the state; filed a 2020 tax return by Oct. 15, 2021; earned less than $75,000 (adjusted gross income and wages) last year; have a Social Security Number (SSN) or an or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and can’t be claimed by another taxpayer as a dependent.

California’s set of qualifications for its stimulus program are different than the federal government’s, meaning quite a few taxpayers who received the three COVID-19 relief payments from the U.S. will be excluded from the state’s program.

For instance, because of the income tax requirement, Californians who typically don’t file returns are essentially excluded from Golden State Stimulus. And, unlike the federal government’s program, California doesn’t have a sign-up tool that allows non-filers to bypass that requirement.

Another key difference is that California has no higher income threshold for the various taxpayer filing classes. That means all statuses — even married couples filing jointly and those who file as heads of household — are restricted to the $75,000 limit as well.

(Not sure if you qualify? California’s online tool allows residents to see if they are eligible and, if they are, provides an estimated payment amount.)

You receive your CA tax refund by mail

California began issuing batches of stimulus payments by direct deposit back in late August but only started sending paper checks out by mail earlier this month. As a result, those who typically get their state refund through the mail should expect a delay — possibly even through the new year.

Additionally, where you live can also affect when you get the payment, as mailing times are based on the taxpayer’s last three digits of their ZIP code.

The Franchise Tax Board provided the following timeline of when it expects mailed payments to go out:

Last 3 digits of ZIP code/mailing time frame

  • 000-044: Oct. 6 through Oct. 27
  • 045-220: Oct. 18 through Nov. 5
  • 221-375: Nov. 1 through Nov. 19
  • 376-584: Nov. 15 through Dec. 3
  • 585-719: Nov. 29 through Dec. 17
  • 720-927: Dec. 13 through Dec. 31
  • 928-999: Dec. 27 through Jan. 11, 2022

Your 2020 tax return hasn’t been processed yet

Eligible individuals who submitted their 2020 taxes on time but whose returns have not yet been processed by the state yet should expect a delay in their payment, according to the Franchise Tax Board.

Taxpayers who filed after Sept. 1 and typically get their refund via direct deposit likely won’t get the payment until up to 45 days after their return has been processed.

For those anticipating a payment by mail, expect a longer delay — up to two months — if the return hasn’t been processed prior to their ZIP code’s scheduled payment date.

On top of that, “Some payments may need extra time to process for accuracy and completeness,” the state notes.

Your personal information is out of date

Individuals may see their payment delayed if they’ve moved or changed their bank account information, and haven’t yet updated it with the state yet.

Taxpayers who have moved since filing their 2020 returns are urged to contact the Franchise Tax Board to update their address.

You receive Social Security or other benefits but no extra income

People who receive Social Security, CalWorks and CalFresh benefits, Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment/and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants, State Disability Insurance and VA disability benefits, or unemployment income generally do not qualify for a GSS II payment if those benefits are their only income source, according to the state, noting that those forms are not included in AGI.

However, if the recipient has other sources that do count as adjusted gross income, they may qualify to receive a stimulus check.

(See what’s included and what’s excluded from AGI here.)

You requested an ITIN but haven’t received one yet

Californians who applied for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number by Oct. 15 but didn’t get one yet will have an additional four months to file their tax returns and still be considered for a GSS II payment, as well as the Golden State Stimulus I program from earlier this year.

The deadline to file a 2020 return for these individuals is Feb. 15, 2022, according to the state.

More information on Golden State Stimulus payments can be found here.

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