Missing stimulus payments cause confusion, concern

Millions of Americans may be disappointed and confused this week after their $1,200 stimulus payments promised by the federal government did not arrive on time, likely due to technical difficulties experienced by an overwhelmed U.S. Treasury.

“Our household has not received the stimulus money, and honestly, I have no idea why. I’ve been checking the bank account and nothing yet,” said Kim White, professor in the Department of Social Work at Marshall University.

White said she and her husband have been able to continue working from home and earning income, but the stimulus payment would provide a welcomed boost to their finances. She said she is more concerned about the stimulus legislation’s overall impact on working-class Americans.

“I have mixed feelings about the stimulus because I’m aware of the disproportionate levels of funding—so little going to individuals and small businesses that support the economy and so much going to large corporations,” White said.

White said she is concerned working-class families and essential workers risking their health to continue working do not have sufficient representation in government to force an effective response despite their primary role in saving the national economy from an even more devastating crash.

“Health care workers, not just doctors and nurses, but janitors, nurses’ aides and everyone behind the scenes in supportive roles, matter, but is their value reflected in their pay and benefits?” she said. “The type of response needed by government is to hold corporations accountable for paying taxes, paying livable wages and providing good insurance. We need a culture shift.”

White said she is concerned working-class citizens still will be forced to compensate for an ever-increasing wealth gap and another bail-out of major corporations and wealthy owners.

J.C. Kinnison, a Charleston resident, said he recently was laid off from work and had to begin collecting Social Security benefits after the company where he worked was forced to downsize. He said he is still waiting for the arrival of his stimulus payment.

“I’m not sure why it’s late, and I check for it daily,” Kinnison said. “It will make a house payment and a trip to the grocery store.”

Kinnison said he does not know when to expect to receive his payment, but he hopes it will arrive soon.

“I am afraid this will not end,” he said.

Charley Harless, a retired Huntington resident who used to work at Marshall, said he has not received his stimulus payment yet, but he is more concerned about others who are unemployed and unable to receive additional benefits.

Harless said the federal government failed to properly prepare for an emergency situation and to protect its most vulnerable citizens.

“Our government totally mishandled the pandemic response,” Harless said. “I believe a lot less people would have died if action would have been taken months ago when Trump was aware (of the danger).”

Huntington resident Robert Barnard also has not received his stimulus payment. Barnard said he is retired, and most of his income comes from Social Security benefits.

Barnard said he expects to receive his payment in May based on the most recent official updates and reports. He also said he is most concerned about others who are unable to work and unable to receive Social Security benefits.

“My Social Security benefit is small, but I am used to the necessary budgeting, and I am doing okay because my income has not diminished during this pandemic,” Barnard said. “I’m more concerned about working people who have lost their jobs and the regular paychecks they’ve always depended on, especially those who were already living paycheck to paycheck.”

Barnard said he is worried about what is happening to the national economy, but officials should be cautious about re-opening businesses before the situation is under control and doing so is more safe.

Douglas Harding can be contacted at [email protected].