things just got worse
The government has begun distributing $600 stimulus checks to millions of Americans. But actually getting access to that money may be another story.
Even as record numbers of Americans spent months unemployed amid the coronavirus pandemic, Congress took months to agree to send out another round of stimulus checks and boost unemployment benefits after the last relief package expired. Millions of Americans suffered during that time, and, as The New York Times reports, often had to overdraw from their bank accounts to pay for groceries and other essentials. In return, banks charged those people overdraft fees, and have often locked people out of their accounts until those fees are paid.
That means the $600 stimulus checks, which the government frequently deposits directly into bank accounts, could be out of reach for the people who need them most. That includes Morgan Banke, who told the Times she has only been able to pay either her rent or car insurance every month, and has overdrawn from her Iowa credit union to cover the rest. She asked the credit union to temporarily waive her fees so she could use the stimulus money, but because it had done so three times in the past, it turned her down.
Many major banks — Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo among them — have said they'll waive accounts' overdrawn status when the checks come in. But many regional banks and credit unions haven't made the same promises, and have even closed down accounts with overdrawn balances, leaving Americans to get their checks another, slower way. Read more at The New York Times.