New updates regarding stimulus funds you need to know about

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you're still waiting on your stimulus payment, the U.S. Department of the Treasury said it's working on a new online tool to help speed up the process, but in the meantime, there are steps you can take soon to get your money.

Here's what we know:

The federal government released a statement about the new online tool and published it on its website.

"Last year, the IRS established new tools in collaboration with outside partners that allowed individuals who had not filed tax returns to simply provide the information needed to demonstrate their eligibility for stimulus payments," read the statement. "Treasury and IRS will build on that work to create in the coming weeks simple options for people who have not filed an income tax return to do so."

The IRS said if your payment hasn't arrived, you must submit a recovery rebate credit on your taxes.

To learn more about the credit, visit the IRS' website.

The IRS also released new information if your payment was lost, stolen or destroyed. You're being asked to submit a payment trace to the IRS. Once they conclude an investigation, you'll be able to request the money on your taxes.

The IRS will start accepting taxes in mid-February, which means if your stimulus payment is coming with your tax return, it's still several weeks away.

The IRS is also warning people about receiving a fraud unemployment tax form. If you received an unemployment form, and didn't lose your job, the IRS said to contact state leaders.

ABC13 contacted Texas Workforce Commission on Monday for more information.

The agency said if you received a form, and didn't file for benefits, you're most likely a victim of identity theft and will need to notify them right away.

According to data obtained by Eyewitness News, fraud unemployment claims skyrocketed during the pandemic.

In 2019, there were 1,856 fraud claims. In 2020, it jumped to 24,831. Despite the startling growth, TWC points out that those numbers are less than one percent of all claims in 2020.

Meanwhile, people like Suzanne Sexton said it's been tough to hang on through this trying time.

"We've had weeks to where my husband says, 'We either have to pay the light bill or go buy groceries,' and we've never had that issue before," she said. "We've always been pretty comfortable."

She's not alone.

Daniel Hooks of Alvin told ABC13 he's waiting for his funds as well.

"I'm kind of shocked, to be honest with you," he said. "The first one came in and it wasn't a problem at all. No issue whatsoever."

Watch live newscasts and in-depth reporting from ABC13 on your favorite streaming devices, like Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and AndroidTV. Just search "ABC13 Houston."

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