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I never received my stimulus check. How might the abuser have taken my stimulus payment?

If you suspect the abuser may have taken your stimulus payment, it is important to understand the ways in which an abuser might get your stimulus money. Depending on how the abuser got your stimulus money, you may have different options in terms of how to recover it. Below are some examples of scenarios in which the abuser may have gotten your stimulus money.

  1. For the first and second rounds of stimulus payments. You filed a joint tax return for 2018 or 2019 and had your refund automatically deposited into a joint bank account or into the abuser’s account. The government used information from your most recently filed tax return to send out stimulus money, and so the stimulus amount went into this account and the abuser moved it or denied you access to the account. Alternatively, the stimulus may have been delivered in the mail by check or debit card to the address on the tax return and you were denied access to the check or forced to sign it over to the abuser.
  2. For the third round of stimulus payments. You filed a joint tax return for 2019 or 2020 and had your refund automatically deposited into a joint bank account or into the abuser’s account. The government used information from your most recently filed tax return to send out stimulus money, and so the stimulus amount went into this account and the abuser moved it or denied you access to the account. Alternatively, the stimulus may have been delivered in the mail by check or debit card to the address on the tax return and you were denied access to the check or forced to sign it over to the abuser.
  3. The abuser fraudulently filed a joint tax return using your information for 2018, 2019 and/or 2020 either without your consent or by forcing your participation, and the stimulus payment(s) were issued based on the fraudulent tax return. The stimulus was then delivered to the address on the tax return by check or debit card, or deposited into the bank account listed on the tax return and you were denied access to your portion of the stimulus. There is a Handout written by the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the Community Tax Law Project that addresses this topic as well as a blog post from the National Taxpayer Advocate with more information on this scenario.
  4. The abuser took a check that was rightfully mailed to you at your new separate address or at your old address that you shared with the abuser, or the abuser accessed your separate bank account to withdraw or transfer the money out without your permission.