Congresswoman Luria Calls on IRS to Provide Telephone Hotline During COVID-19 for Constituents Without Internet Access

May 7, 2020
Press Release

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) joined Congressman Troy Balderson (OH-12) in calling on IRS Commissioner Retting and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to address ongoing accessibility issues for constituents without internet access. Without access to the online portal, these constituents are unable to receive timely information or provide updates to the IRS in order to receive their Economic Impact Payment (EIP). Currently, the IRS does not provide constituents without internet access the option of calling the agency to update their banking or address information in order to receive their Economic Impact Payment (EIP) in a timely manner.

“It is unacceptable that there is no telephone line option for constituents without internet access and that the IRS has no plan to create a telephone line to implement the direct-to-individuals stimulus payments that Congress authorized,” said Congresswoman Luria. “As rural and urban communities alike are struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic, it is critical that the IRS and the Treasury Department provide equal access to families without reliable access to broadband.”

The IRS has indicated to Congressional offices that without access to the online portal, Americans without internet access will need to wait until next year’s tax filing season to claim the child add-on payment. In the letter, the members of Congress requested answers to three questions as well as provided a framework for addressing these accessibility concerns for constituents without internet access:

  1. Is IRS willing to consider creating a telephone hotline option to serve these constituents who cannot access the portal?
  2. We recognize that many IRS employees are working from home or furloughed; these same employees could be empowered to facilitate constituents’ attempts to update their information and receive their EIPs in a timely fashion. Is there any place in place to allow for this?
  3. If neither of these options is feasible, can you please direct your agency to allow our constituents services representatives to work with our offices’ respective IRS direct liaisons to update information on our constituents’ behalf? We recognize that this option may entail new privacy release requirements.

The letter can be found here.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee