The IRS this month is contacting 9 million Americans who may still be owed economic stimulus money.

Angela Lang/CNET

As many as 9 million people may not know they qualify for the first stimulus check, according to the IRS. The majority of people who received the direct payment this spring and summer didn’t have to anything to claim it, so long as they met the eligibility requirements. But a subset of folks did have to take a further step, mainly people who typically don’t file their taxes, a group that can include older adults, retirees and SSDI recipients.

The IRS is now sending letters to people who may be eligible. Recipients have until Oct. 15 to file for their payment, the IRS said, if they want to receive it this year. It’s unclear at this time if or how the latest events in Washington will impact this group of people.

These missing payments from the first round are separate from the second stimulus check that could be part of a new coronavirus relief package — here’s where it stands in Washington. Here’s when a potential second stimulus check could arrive for qualifying Americans and how much money you might receive. You can also consult CNET’s stimulus calculator tool for an estimate, and for a broader view.

Who are the nonfilers eligible to receive a stimulus check?

Among the 9 million the IRS started contacting last week are nonfilers who weren’t required to file a federal tax return for 2018 and 2019 and didn’t know they needed to submit an additional form with the IRS to claim a relief payment. 

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How will the IRS contact me about my money?

The IRS will start sending the letters — which it calls IRS Notice 1444-A — around Sept. 24 to those who may be eligible. The agency said the letter will be mailed from an IRS address. You can see a copy of the letter here (PDF) in English and Spanish. The IRS cautions that receiving a letter doesn’t guarantee you are eligible for a payment.

How do I claim my stimulus payment?

If you weren’t required to file a federal tax return, the letter directs you to use the IRS’ Non-Filers tool, where you can provide some information to claim your payment.

If you were required to file your federal taxes but didn’t, the letter directs you to electronically file your 2019 tax return immediately and then use the IRS’ Get My Payment to check the status of your payment.

What if I miss the Oct. 15 deadline?

Those using the Non-Filers tool need to request their payment by Oct. 15. Afterward, the only way to claim a payment will be to file a federal income tax return.

For more on economic impact payments have tips on how best to use your stimulus check, how to avoid being scammed and how young you can be and still get your own stimulus check money. Again, you can use our stimulus check calculator to get an estimate for how much you might receive.

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