Nearly $1.8 billion of stimulus money went unclaimed in US: Did your state cash their checks?

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(KDVR) – The country’s economy is missing out on a hefty chunk of spending or saving from stimulus checks.

Americans refused, paid back or failed to cash 1,315,717 checks of the first-round $1,200 stimulus checks issued under President Trump’s administration at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Internal Revenue Service records obtained by the KDVR Data Desk.

In total, that amounts to $1.77 billion of unclaimed stimulus cash from that first round. For comparison, construction of the new Las Vegas Raiders NFL stadium cost $1.8 billion.

Americans seemed to refuse checks in roughly equal proportions across the nation, too.

States with the largest populations naturally had larger amounts of unclaimed checks and unclaimed money. California has the most unclaimed checks with 130,243, followed by Florida with 96,342 and Texas with 96,918. New York and Pennsylvania came next.

Collectively, these five states failed to cash over $650 million in stimulus.

Low-population states had the smallest total numbers of uncashed checks. Wyoming had 2,668 uncashed, followed by the District of Columbia, Alaska, Vermont and North Dakota.

However, when you look at the rate of unclaimed checks compared to population, things shake out a little different. California and Texas both had low refusal rates, while Pennsylvania had the highest.

Pennsylvania’s refusal rate — 1.17% of stimulus checks uncashed — was nearly double Mississippi’s rate of 0.67%, which was the lowest in the nation.

Despite Pennsylvania being a Democratic-voting state and Mississippi a Republican-voting state, rates of check refusal were fairly evenly spread among the political spectrum. The average percentage of refused checks in states that voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election was on par with those that voted for Joe Biden, with Trump states refusing 0.83% of first-round stimulus checks on average, while Biden states refused 0.85%.

The ten states with both the highest and lowest percentages of refused checks were similarly matched in terms of political leanings, too.

Number of unclaimed stimulus checks by state

StateNumber of unclaimed first round stimulus checksTotal dollar amountUnclaimed percentage of checksUnclaimed percentage of stimulus dollars
Alabama17,857$24,007,6970.71%0.57%
Alaska6,028$4,010,4220.85%0.66%
Arizona32,201$43,636,2080.92%0.74%
Arkansas11,239$15,350,9470.73%0.58%
California130,243$172,764,8990.72%0.58%
Colorado23,555$30,747,2520.86%0.67%
Connecticut3,921$17,933,3320.82%0.66%
Delaware3,921$5,180,0140.79%0.63%
District of Columbia2,793$3,520,8850.85%0.78%
Florida96,342$130,193,1390.85%0.7%
Georgia37,135$49,856,6490.72%0.58%
Hawaii6,802$9,042,4460.93%0.73%
Idaho7,138$9,644,1940.83%0.61%
Illinois49,953$65,430,2050.83%0.65%
Indiana32,478$44,625,5210.98%0.77%
Iowa14,567$19,877,0270.95%0.72%
Kansas12,921$17,084,6520.94%0.7%
Kentucky18,048$25,321,9460.77%0.63%
Louisiana16,693$22,395,1590.71%0.57%
Maine5,629$7,413,5000.74%0.58%
Maryland22,992$30,748,6850.8%0.67%
Massachusetts28,680$37,076,3150.87%0.71%
Michigan49,085$64,755,2440.97%0.75%
Minnesota23,666$30,813,8110.87%0.65%
Mississippi10,395$14,042,9050.67%0.55%
Missouri28,168$38,351,2350.91%0.72%
Montana5,339$7,130,3820.95%0.73%
Nebraska7,808$10,209,9990.85%0.62%
Nevada13,107$17,496,0660.82%0.67%
New Hampshire6,078$7,858,4130.86%0.66%
New Jersey33,599$43,694,5220.81%0.64%
New Mexico9,249$12,332,4020.86%0.69%
New York78,256$103,055,2090.79%0.66%
North Carolina38,763$51,446,1860.75%0.59%
North Dakota3,507$4,640,9040.95%0.71%
Ohio49,370$67,776,5840.8%0.66%
Oklahoma16,366$22,055,5520.84%0.65%
Pennsylvania76,523$117,391,9091.17%1.07%
Rhode Island4,384$5,659,2960.77%0.62%
South Carolina18,818$25,209,7690.72%0.57%
South Dakota4,032$5,405,6510.91%0.68%
Tennessee26,129$35,278,9620.74%0.59%
Texas93,918$128,813,1300.71%0.56%
Utah10,476$14,248,9830.77%0.55%
Vermont3,298$4,285,1420.96%0.74%
Virginia29,995$39,469,8300.75%0.59%
Washington31,400$41,352,6310.86%0.67%
West Virginia7,786$10,383,7960.8%0.62%
Wisconsin27,033$36,270,7050.92%0.71%
Wyoming2,668$3,568,9260.95%0.71%
United States1,315,717$1,772,914,4640.81%0.65%

But what happens to this money? The Data Desk learned that unclaimed stimulus funds are returned to the federal government.

The funding from the CARES Act voids if physical checks remain uncashed after 12 months. The IRS said it had completed first-round checks in May 2020, meaning most of this money will sink back into IRS coffers.

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