The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says that there's $1.77 billion of unclaimed stimulus cash from that first round of payments at the beginning of the pandemic, and a good chunk went unclaimed here in Illinois.

Keep in mind that these numbers only relate to the first round of stimulus payments, not all three rounds. Still, that's a pretty high number of the $1,200 checks that were either refused, paid back, or went uncashed. I can't help but think it's gotta be pretty nice to be in a position to refuse a check for over a thousand bucks.

Once again, Illinois leads the rest of the Midwest in a somewhat dubious category. I mean we already lead the Midwest in property taxes, gas taxes, the price of gas, unemployment, outbound migration, and, I'm guessing at this one, elected officials who wind up in prison. Shouldn't we lead in the category of unclaimed checks?

Don't worry, we do.

As I look at the state-by-state breakdown on the numbers of unclaimed stimulus checks, I see from the IRS's own maps that Illinois has 49,953 unclaimed checks. Here's how many each of our Midwestern neighbors have:

  • Wisconsin: 27,033
  • Minnesota: 23,666
  • Michigan: 49,085
  • Iowa: 14,567
  • Indiana: 32,478
  • Missouri: 28,168
  • Kentucky: 18,048

The IRS numbers say that California had the most unclaimed checks with 130,243, followed by Florida with 96,342, and then comes Texas with 93,918.

The 3 states with the least unclaimed checks are Wyoming with 2,668 uncashed, The District of Columbia with 2,793, and Alaska with 6,028.

At first, I thought about dropping the IRS a note telling them that I'd be happy to take some of those checks off their hands so all that paper wouldn't be crowding their offices, but then I learned that the unclaimed checks are returned to the federal government.

WGN TV News:

The funding from the CARES Act voids if physical checks remain uncashed after 12 months. The IRS said it had completed first-round checks in May 2020, meaning most of this money will sink back into IRS coffers.

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