Chicagoland residents risk losing nearly $30 million in economic stimulus money
CHICAGO -- While a slumping economy is leaving many people struggling to balance the soaring costs of housing, gas, food, and health care, nearly 100,000 residents from Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties have failed to take advantage of their economic stimulus rebate - leaving close to $30 million unclaimed.
With a Wednesday, October 15 deadline looming, AARP is working hard with the IRS to get the message out and help people get their money before it's too late. Nearly 70% of those who haven't filed in Illinois are over the age of 65. Since the summer, AARP has undertaken an aggressive effort to ensure people have the facts they need to claim the stimulus rebate money. On October 7, nearly 10,000 individuals connected online with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, AARP State Director Bob Gallo and IRS leaders, in a Tele Town Hall to get critical information on how to claim their $300-$600 federal rebate checks.
"People across the nation and here in Illinois are struggling in a tough economy. This is not the time for anyone to leave money on the table," Gallo said. "AARP is working to ensure older Illinoisans, veterans and disabled individuals who don't usually file income taxes don't miss out on the federal rebate money that could soften the blow of the current economic downturn."
Illinois ranks 7th in the nation, with over 153,000 people yet to file, leaving close to $46 million unclaimed. Among cities, Chicago ranks second with 44,375 people so far leaving $13.3 million unclaimed. Nationally, 4.3 million people remain to file for their rebates, leaving $1.3 billion in unclaimed payments.
According with the latest IRS numbers, the following are the numbers of individuals remaining to file, and the value of unclaimed payments, in the six counties making up the Chicagoland area:
In the current economic climate, the economic stimulus payments are as critical as ever, especially for older adults, veterans and disabled individuals. According to a recent AARP survey on how the economic crisis, nearly 60% of people over 65 are finding it more difficult to pay for items such as food, gas and medicine, while 12% have had to postpone paying bills and nearly 50% are having trouble affording their utilities.
To receive the stimulus rebate, people who didn't need to file a tax return this year, but who received at least $3,000 from Social Security benefits, veterans benefits, or earned income in 2007, must submit a simplified version of a 1040A tax form to the IRS (for more information visit www.irs.gov or call the IRS toll-free 1-800-829-1040). The minimum payment for this group is $300 for an individual and $600 for a couple filing jointly.
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