$9 Million in Stimulus Checks Go Unclaimed in Fresno

7/14/2008 Fresno, CA -------------------------------------------------------

The Federal Government said Valley residents have yet to claim about $9 million dollars worth of economic stimulus checks. Now the City of Fresno is joining forces with the I.R.S. to help people and stimulate our local economy at the same time.

Many who live on social security or disability don't have to file a tax return. The trouble is, if they didn't file, they didn't get a stimulus check. For most of those people it could mean an extra $300 dollars each. They have until October 15th to file, and the I.R.S., along with local groups is trying to get the word out.

Those stimulus checks have put more than $60 billion dollars into the hands of nearly 80 million taxpayers. But more than five million were left out. Mostly those on social security and veteran's disability who didn't file tax returns. The I.R.S. is rushing to let them know they may have money coming.

Generally anyone who made at least $3,000 dollars, in income and or social security payments or veteran's benefits is eligible for a $300 check. Statewide the I.R.S. has figured some 615,000 people are eligible.

In Fresno County more than 14 thousand could get the checks; most of those are in the City of Fresno. A total of 30,000 thousand people in the surrounding counties are likely to be eligible for the stimulus checks, that's at least $9 million dollars for the local economy. One reason Fresno City Council member Cynthia Sterling wants the city to get involved in spreading the word.

"This will help with their incomes as well as stimulate the economy here in the City of Fresno," said Sterling.

Sterling wants the city to partner with the I.R.S., and local agencies, like Central California Legal Services, which has already been working to get the checks to all who qualify. "It's tremendously important. You just look at the demographics of the Valley, there's tremendous poverty and poverty hits seniors and disabled folks and so having this opportunity to file can make a real important difference in these folks lives," said Chris Schneider with Central California Legal Services.

The I.R.S. is mailing out the forms to apply for the stimulus checks to everyone they believe qualifies.

You can go online to the I.R.S. web site, or call the I.R.S. on the phone, or go to Central California Legal Services in downtown Fresno to get one.


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