FARGO — Laura Lepard, of south Fargo, had received her federal stimulus payment of $1,200 this past Wednesday, but it was missing the extra $500 for her 12-year-old son.

After going to IRS.gov to try to find out why, the single mother who receives Supplemental Security Income said she was confused and frustrated.

Unable to call the IRS as they aren't taking calls on the CARES Act payments, she was left to sort through the website's information. Although the website offers help, it didn't answer her question of why she didn't get the extra $500.

She said she followed the rules that people should apply by this past Wednesday on the website for the dependent child payments.

What was confusing, she said, was that the IRS said that last Wednesday was an initial deadline, and they were still going to try to send out additional payments to parents in the coming weeks and months for children under age 17.

Even that was unclear, though, as another post said if people didn't apply by the Wednesday deadline they may have to wait to include it in their tax return filing next year.

When contacting U.S. Senate offices in North Dakota and Minnesota, the staffs referred to the IRS website for any information.

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven's staff said they didn't know a reason why Lepard may not have received her payment for her child but suggested she wait a few weeks.

The staff noted that the IRS will be sending a letter to all taxpayers’ last known addresses within 15 days after the payment. The IRS said the letter will provide information on how the payment was made and how to report any issues with the payment.

North Dakota residents who experience issues may contact Hoeven's office, and his staff will work with the IRS on their behalf, said press aide Alex Finken. Contact numbers for his offices are found below.

Lepard said her neighbors all received their payments for their children, which added to her frustration.

"I was really hoping for the extra $500," Lepard said. "My son has outgrown all of his clothes and shoes."

She was hoping to use the money from the IRS to help cover that expense.

Common questions

Here are answers to other questions about the stimulus checks from the IRS website and through offices of Hoeven and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota:

  • What if I don't have to file a tax return because of low income?: Use the "Non-filers: Enter payment info here" option on the IRS.gov website and fill out the application. You will be asked to create an account. It will then tell you if you successfully completed the application.
  • If the IRS doesn't have my bank account number?: If you filed taxes and had to pay in, you likely didn't include your bank account. The IRS will automatically send you a check by using your mailing address but that could take longer. So a step you can take to make it go faster is to provide them a bank routing and account number by going to the "Get My Payment" button on IRS.gov. They will ask identity questions and your adjusted gross income last year. The payment will then be put into your bank account, although it may take a few weeks. If your bank account has changed or been closed, the bank will reject the deposit and it will instead be mailed to the address on file with the IRS.

  • What if I don't have a bank account?: The IRS said it will mail payment to address on file or the updated address through the Postal Service.
  • What if I owe back taxes or child support?: The payment will not be reduced if taxes are owed. The lone exception is if a person has a past due child support payment.
  • Is it taxable?: No. The payment will not be taxed so don't include it on your next year's tax return. It will also not affect determining eligibility for federal government assistance or benefit programs.
  • How can I check the status of when I'll get a payment?: Go under the "Get My Payment" button on the IRS.gov website. Once you have completed your eligibility forms, go to the "check my status button." It will likely say "You are eligible for payment. Once we have your payment date, we will update this page." Or it will tell you the date to expect your payment. It will also say how you will get your payment. On example is: "We will deposit your payment to the bank account below... although they don't list the entire number of the bank account" but only the last four digits. Updates on payment date notices are done only once a day so residents shouldn't check more than once a day. For checks, it will tell you the day it was mailed.

  • Will I receive the payment automatically?: Most U.S. taxpayers will automatically receive their payment or have already if they filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 and had their bank account information on the tax return. It will be deposited directly in bank account. Also receiving automatic payments will be those on Social Security retirement, disability, survivor benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Affairs benefit recipients and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries..

  • When will Social Security recipients receive payments?: An exact date was not found on the IRS website, but an IRS news release issued on April 15 said the payments should be put in senior citizen accounts by the end of this month. SSI recipients, it said, were also receiving their payments this month but said it could continue until early May.

  • What's the cut-off level for income?: A full payment of $1,200 and $500 per child is paid to Americans under $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for head of household and $150,000 for married filing jointly taxpayers. The payments will then be gradually reduced with higher incomes. No payments are made to taxpayers with an adjusted gross income greater than $99,000 if single, $136,500 for head of household or $198,000 for married filing jointly.

  • How can I tell if I'm being scammed?: The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the economic impact payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call, text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.

More help

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven's office said North Dakota residents can contact his six offices in the state or in Washington, D.C., for specific help about payments at 701-239-5389 or 202-224-2551. There is also a form available on his website at https://www.hoeven.senate.gov/serving-you/help-with-federal-agencies.