Families across the nation are struggling due to the pandemic that has closed down businesses and put people out of jobs. Congress and Donald Trump were finally able to agree on sending Americans a stimulus check of $1,200 to help people pay bills and other necessities like food and water.
But now, according to The American Prospect‘s David Dayen, Trump’s Treasury Department has given banks the green light to take peoples’ stimulus check away to pay off debts.
“The Treasury Department effectively blessed this activity on a webinar with banking officials last Friday,” The American Prospect‘s David Dayen reported Tuesday.
In an audio recording from the webinar obtained exclusively by the Prospect, Ronda Kent, chief disbursing officer at the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, told bankers that “there’s nothing in the law that precludes” financial institutions from seizing a person’s payment and using it to pay off the individual’s debts.
“After a third of U.S. renters couldn’t make rent this month, the Treasury Department is pointing out opportunities for banks and debt collectors to steal Americans’ relief checks out from under them,” Jeremy Funk, spokesperson for consumer advocacy group Allied Progress, said in a statement responding to Kent’s comments.
“It’s the middle of a pandemic,” said Funk. “This money should be going toward food, rent, and medicine—it’s not the time to hand out favors to debt collection industry donors or pad some big bank’s bottom line,” said Funk. “Secretary Mnuchin needs to ensure that these $1,200 checks go straight into Americans pockets where they belong.”
You can listen to the recording HERE.
Americans who use direct deposit to obtain their Internal Revenue Service checks every year will begin receiving their payments this week, provided that their banks do not opt to seize the money.
Those who don’t use direct deposit may be forced to wait up to five months to receive their checks in the mail.