- Many Americans have reported problems with the IRS portal that tracks stimulus payments and lets people sign up for direct deposit.
- Numerous people took to Twitter to say they had received a message that said “Payment Status Not Available,” after entering their information, prompting the topic to trend on Twitter.
- While an IRS spokesperson said the message was due to the site being overloaded, the IRS posted a contradictory statement, providing no information but insisting the site was working fine.
- Others have reported that their money was sent to the wrong bank account and that deceased people received checks.
Stimulus Check Portal Problems
Millions of Americans have begun receiving their stimulus checks, but the first week of distributing the money has not gone as smoothly as many hoped.
Several people have taken to Twitter or spoken to reporters about a wide range of issues they have faced with the much-needed checks.
One of the most common problems stems from the “Get My Payment” portal the IRS rolled out Wednesday. The portal is supposed to let people track the status of their payments and allow others who had not signed up for direct deposit to give the IRS their banking information.
But people started having problems with the site early on. Many reported that after entering their personal information in the portal, they were met with the message: “Payment Status Not Available.”
“According to information that we have on file, we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time,” the message continued.
Numerous Twitter users shared their experiences, causing the topic to trend on the platform.
Some people said the IRS had their direct deposit information from their taxes, and that they had filed taxes this year or last year.
Others said they could not get through to the IRS and that they did not know what to do next because the FAQ page provided very little information.
IRS Gives Contradictory Information
Currently, the IRS FAQ page does have a section on “Payment Status Not Available,” but all it does is provide four reasons why people might be getting that message.
One of the reasons they provide is simply that the user is not eligible for the money. Other reasons include failing to file taxes when required, filing taxes or providing information through the non-filer portal too recently to process, and being a recipient of Social Security or Veterans Affairs benefits.
However, on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for the IRS gave CNBC another explanation.
“What happened is instead of having an error message or a message saying the system is very busy, it just says your information isn’t in here, that was the default,” he said, adding that the problem should be fixed now.
“Just be patient, check back later. If you filed last year’s or this year’s taxes we have your information,” the spokesman continued. “Go to the IRS website, literally 99% of all the questions are answered right there.”
But the FAQ page says nothing about the seemingly important fact that a lot of people may be getting the message because the system is overwhelmed.
Around the same time, the IRS posted an official statement on their website about the message.
“The Get My Payment site is operating smoothly and effectively,” the statement asserted.
“As of mid-day today, more than 6.2 million taxpayers have successfully received their payment status and almost 1.1 million taxpayers have successfully provided banking information, ensuring a direct deposit will be quickly sent.”
The statement also said users will be sent to an online “waiting room” if too many people are on the site, and added that, “Media reports saying the tool ‘crashed’ are inaccurate.”
Despite the fact that a spokesperson said the problem was fixed and the IRS claimed the site was ‘operating smoothly,’ Twitter users continued to report that they were getting the message Thursday morning.
However, for the direct deposit checks that have been delivered, there is still a whole other set of problems.
Some people who were able to get through to the portal found that their payments were sent to the wrong bank accounts. In some cases, people said their stimulus checks are being sent to their old bank accounts, including those who claimed they got their most recent tax refund in their new accounts.
This is a problem some banks have reported as well. JP Morgan Chase told ABC News that they received money for closed accounts, and when they could not locate a new account, they just sent the money back.
Others have said that their money is being sent to entirely different bank accounts altogether.
Some parents who have young dependent children eligible for the additional $500 per child also told reporters that they either received an incorrect amount of money or no money at all.
Unfortunately, for people who’s checks were sent to the wrong account or for those who received the wrong amount, there is no quick fix.
According to the IRS website, 15 days after someone receives their payment the IRS will mail a letter to their most recent address on file, and that letter will, “provide information on how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment.”
Beyond that, however, it is unclear how and when they will get their money.
On top of all that, it has also been reported that some checks have been sent to dead people. The good news here is that multiple financial advisors and former IRS employees have said that relatives will be able to keep that money.
But, of course, the IRS has not said anything official on the matter.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (ABC News) (NBC News)
Kathy Griffin, Ethan Klein, More Suspended From Twitter Over Elon Musk Impersonations
Many have pretended to be Musk in an attempt to highlight the potential issues paid-for verifications could cause on the platform.
Musk Takes on Impersonations
Comedian Kathy Griffin and internet personality Ethan Klein are among the many Twitter users that have been permanently suspended for impersonating the platform’s new CEO, Elon Musk.
Impersonation has long been against Twitter’s rules, but on Sunday, the billionaire took the policy a step further by announcing that “any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended.”
“Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning,” Musk explained. “This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue.”
Musk also said that any user who changes their name will temporarily lose their verification check mark.
The announcement came as many verified users began mocking Musk by changing their name and photo to match his, then tweeting jokes that were either absurd or out of character for the business mogul. Many did this to protest Musk’s plan to charge an $8 monthly subscription fee that would allow any Twitter user to become verified.
Klein was one of many who changed his name to “Elon Musk” and made a photo of the CEO his profile image. The podcast host sent out several jokes, including one referencing the increased use of the N-word on the platform since Musk’s takeover, and another referencing Jeffrey Epstein.
“Even though Jeffrey Epstein committed horrible crimes, I do still miss him on nights like this for his warmth and camaraderie. Rest In Peace old Friend,” he wrote.
His account was quickly banned, but Klein defended himself on TikTok, arguing that both his cover photo and bio labeled his account as “parody” and therefore should be acceptable under Musk’s guidelines.
“What more do you want from me?” he asked. “Comedy is dead. And Elon Musk dug the grave.”
Protests of Musk’s Twitter Control
For her part, Griffin likewise tweeted while masquerading as Musk, writing that after “spirited discussion with the females in my life, I’ve decided that voting blue for their choice is only right.”
Musk joked that she was actually “suspended for impersonating a comedian” and added that she can have her account back if she pays for the $8 subscription. Griffin, however, found another way around the ban.
The comedian logged into her late mother’s Twitter account and began using the hashtag #FreeKathy while calling out Musk.
“Mad Men” actor Rich Sommer and podcaster Griffin Newman have also had their accounts suspended for tweeting as Musk. Other celebrities, including TV producer Shonda Rhimes, musician Sara Bareilles, and model Gigi Hadid have protested Musk’s Twitter reign by leaving the platform altogether.
“For a long time, but especially with its new leadership, it’s becoming more and more of a cesspool of hate & bigotry, and it’s not a place I want to be a part of,” Hadid wrote on Instagram over the weekend.
AOC Says Twitter Notifications “Conveniently” Disabled After Criticizing Musk
“What’s good? Doesn’t seem very free speechy to me,” she tweeted at the new CEO.
AOC Vs. Elon Musk
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said several of her Twitter features are “conveniently not working” after feuding with the platform’s new owner, billionaire Elon Musk.
Ocasio-Cortez has never been shy about her views on Musk. After he officially took charge of Twitter last week, the congresswoman began criticizing his new proposals for the social networking site, specifically his plan to charge an $8 subscription fee for verification.
“Lmao at a billionaire earnestly trying to sell people on the idea that ‘free speech’ is actually a $8/mo subscription plan,” she wrote on Tuesday.
“Your feedback is appreciated, now pay $8,” Musk replied the following day.
Around an hour later, the business mogul sent another tweet appearing to call Ocasio-Cortez out for selling $58 sweatshirts.
“Proud of this and always will be,” she shot back. “My workers are union, make a living wage, have full healthcare, and aren’t subject to racist treatment in their workplaces. Items are made in USA. Team AOC honors and respects working people. You should try it sometime instead of union-busting.”
In a follow-up tweet, she noted that proceeds go to community organizing programs, including one that tutors students who are falling behind because of COVID-19.
AOC’s Mentions Not Working
On Wednesday evening, just hours after her back-and-forth with Musk, Ocasio-Cortez told her followers that her “Twitter mentions/notifications conveniently aren’t working tonight.”
“I was informed via text that I seem to have gotten under a certain billionaire’s skin,” she added. “Just a reminder that money will never [buy] your way out of insecurity, folks.”
The issue seemingly continued into Thursday morning when the Democrat tweeted a screenshot of her notifications page, which loaded no results.
“Why should people pay $8 just for their app to get bricked when they say something you don’t like?” she tweeted at Musk. “This is what my app has looked like ever since my tweet upset you yesterday. What’s good? Doesn’t seem very free speechy to me.”
Musk has repeatedly claimed that one of his primary motives to buy Twitter was to protect free speech. Once taking the reigns as CEO, though, he did say he would start a content moderation council and make decisions jointly with them.
South Carolina County Votes Against Moving LGBTQ+ Friendly Books Away from Children’s Section
Efforts to limit LGBTQ+ content in libraries first began over the summer.
Attempts to Restrict LGBTQ+ Displays
The county council in Greenville County, South Carolina this week voted against discussing a resolution that would move all books “promoting sexuality” to the adult section.
This resolution is the culmination of months of turmoil in Greenville County. In June, libraries in the county removed Pride displays at the direction of library officials. Then in September, the county’s Republican Party executive board passed a resolution to call on the County Council to restrict access to books with LGBTQ+ themes and characters.
The resolution was proposed by Joe Dill, an outgoing council member, as well as a member of the county’s Republican Party executive board. It proposed the council “officially order that no books or content, including digital copies or online accessible materials, promoting sexuality be allowed in the Children’s Sections of our public libraries.”
However, the resolution required the council to suspend its regular rules in order to discuss it as it was not submitted to the council via committee. The final vote was 9 to 3 against the suspension of the rules and effectively killed the resolution.
Those that voted against it viewed the resolution as an overreach.
“We just do not believe that’s our job to get involved in the library’s business,” Council member Ennis Fett said to a local news outlet. “We appoint a board. We can not set a precedent of micromanaging the library board, because if we do that, then, we will be micromanaging all boards and commissions that we appoint.”
Although the council decided not to get involved, the library still has the final decision to make regarding these books. Their meeting to discuss the matter is scheduled for December 5.