How stimulus checks could be withheld from the Americans most in need

The government has begun handing out $ 600 stimulus checks to millions of Americans. But gaining access to that money can be a different story.

Although record numbers of Americans spent months unemployed amid the coronavirus pandemic, Congress took months to agree to send out another round of stimulus checks and increase unemployment benefits after the last relief package expired. Millions of Americans suffered during that time, and as The New York Times reports, often had to withdraw their bank accounts to pay for groceries and other necessities. In return, banks charged those people overdraft fees, and people often locked out of their accounts until the fees were paid.

This means that the $ 600 incentive checks, which the government regularly deposits directly into bank accounts, may be out of reach of the people who need them most. These include Morgan Banks, which Times she could only pay her rent or car insurance each month, and covered her Iowa credit union to cover the rest. She asked the credit union to temporarily waive her fees so she could use the stimulus money, but because it had done so three times in the past, it turned her down.

Many large banks – including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo – have said they will waive the overdraft status of accounts when checks arrive. But many local banks and credit unions did not make the same promises, and even closed accounts with overdraft balances, allowing Americans to get their checks in a different, slower way. Read more at The New York Times.

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