ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Could you be one of the millions of people the federal government owes money? More than 5-million Americans still need to claim economic stimulus checks.
That adds up to more than $1.6 billion just waiting to be sent out. All people have to do is file a tax return. Hundreds of South Georgians are entitled to thousands of dollars.
Those anxious trips to mailboxes across the country have lessened lately. But when stimulus checks began going out a few months ago, mail couldn't come fast enough.
"I thought it was too good to be true," said taxpayer Nakisia Sims.
It was good news and a true reality for many dealing with economic woes. Sims got her check last month. "I paid off a few bills and I put some in the bank," said Sims.
Thousands of Georgians don't have the same story as Sims to tell. The government is just holding on to their money. "We have quite a bit of money," said Mark Green with the Internal Revenue Service.
It adds up to more than $50-million for Georgians. That's because many haven't filed taxes which is a requirement to get a check. "The majority of the individuals who are affected are senior citizens, veterans, retirees, individuals who have been out of the tax system for some time," said Green.
As of the end of last month, more than 167,000 people in Georgia were still entitled to payments. Mark Green with the Internal Revenue Service says there's apprehension from some.
"There is some concern because some senior citizens think it will affect their social security benefits, veterans pay, and by filing it would require them to be back in the tax system and continue filing every year," said Green.
The IRS says there's no need for concern and they urge everyone who hasn't filed to file. Sims agrees. "They need to hurry up and get to the government before they decide to take it back," said Sims.
The government won't take it away. They want to give it away and hope to give more Georgians that motivation to check the mail.
In Dougherty County, more than 2,200 people haven't claimed stimulus payments. If you want to receive the check, you have to file by October 15th. The local IRS office has free resources to help you file.