(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.)
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The IRS is adding 3,500 telephone representatives to answer stimulus check questions, in part thanks to pressure from Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.). 

After the CARES Act passed in March, millions of Americans received stimulus checks to help deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The IRS created an online tool to give recipients information on when they would get their stimulus checks and how much they qualified for. But it has been unhelpful to many Americans, turning out error messages without usable information. And to make matters worse, the online tool was the only customer service available, since the IRS had yet to set up a telework phone operation. 

Spanberger led an effort with other members of Congress to get the IRS to provide additional information to taxpayers, address the lack of customer service representatives and explain why it had not adapted to teleworking. 

On May 18, the IRS announced that it will bring more than 3,000 employees on to answer frequently asked questions about stimulus checks over the telephone. 

“This announcement from the IRS is welcome news for Central Virginia’s working families, many of whom are still seeking answers about the status of their stimulus checks. However, the addition of these customer service representatives is only the first step in addressing the enormous, unacceptable backlog of work that has piled up for IRS employees,” said Spanberger in a statement

“Taxpayers deserve better treatment during this crisis. Especially at a time when financial stress levels are high and family budgets are strained, Central Virginians should be able to have their urgent questions answered by a human being on the other end of the line. As the IRS begins onboarding these additional customer service employees, I’ll keep pushing the agency to better coordinate its call center operations, troubleshoot ongoing challenges with the Get My Payment tool, and bring much needed relief to Central Virginia individuals and families,” Spanberger said in a statement.

In recent months, Spanberger has also been working to give people living without reliable access to the internet more information on their eligibility for federal financial support.