Survey Shows Retirees, Disabled Not Getting Stimulus Checks

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A local non-profit agency says many of Harrison County residents who could most benefit from federal tax rebates are missing out.

Mercy Housing says a recent Internal Revenue Service survey shows in Harrison County 4,660 retirees and disabled have not taken advantage of the economic stimulus program. So the group has come up with a way to help those people get their money.

Charlie Idom is disabled and said he normally doesn't file federal income taxes. However, this year he did because his niece told him that's how he could get a tax rebate.

"She had hers done and she took it to the lady that did hers. The lady that did hers filed mine," said Idom.

Mercy Housing's AnSonya Piernas-Mack said the news about the stimulus check program hasn't reached thousands of Harrison County retirees and disabled people.

"I think a lot of them just don't know that it's available to them," said Piernas-Mack. "These are the individuals that normally do not prepare taxes or do not file their tax returns because they're disabled or retired."

Since the government doesn't automatically send the checks without a 1040 A, Mercy Housing is offering to do the paperwork and mail it in free of charge.

Piernas Mack said, "They can be disabled. They can be disabled vets, retired vets. Anyone that made over $3,000 last year in any type of income, Social Security or disability."

People must bring a picture id, a social security card for themselves and any dependents, and proof of that income.

Mercy Housing knows people need this money now more than ever.

"I think it's important mostly because the economy is so tight right now," said Piernas-Mack. "The gas is expensive. Groceries are going up. Everything is at an all time high. And this is money given to individuals from the government to help take the ease off."

Charlie Idom said he's already done his part to stimulate the economy with his $300 check.

"It meant that I could pay one bill, two bills with it," said Idom. "That's what it meant to me."

The free workshop will be Thursday, July 24th at the Isaiah Fredricks Community Center in Gulfport from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.