Those $1,200 Emergency Payments Are Arriving — And Debt Collectors May Be Eyeing Them

By Chris Arnold | April 13, 2020

Those $1,200 federal payments to help Americans through the coronavirus crisis have started arriving in some people’s bank accounts via direct deposit. But many people will have to wait longer — and there could be pitfalls, such as debt collectors grabbing the money before you do.

Those who’ll be getting checks in the mail may not see them for weeks or even months. To get the money faster, millions of people will have to provide direct-deposit account information to the IRS.

The IRS is just starting to bring portals online to let people do that. The first went live on Friday, but it’s just for people who are not required to file tax returns. Another tool expected this week will allow everybody else to provide the IRS with account information for direct deposit if the IRS doesn’t already have it.

Begin Nora lives in Seattle, where the pandemic first hit the United States.
She’s a violinist, and events were pretty quickly called off.

“I have lost all of my income,” Nora says. She usually cobbles together a living by performing and teaching music at schools and elsewhere. She has quite a few different gig jobs — “at least 12 different jobs, so it’s a huge confusing conglomeration of things.” So she’s had trouble trying to figure out how to navigate the state’s website to file for unemployment.

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