By Miguel Juárez
On April 16th, after I checked the IRS website for the umpteenth time and got the same message “Payment Status Not Available,” I decided to create a Facebook group called “Payment Status Not Available.” The group responds to the shared misery of our federal government’s inability to issue stimulus checks in a timely manner. There are various groups on social media with similar purposes and some have thousands of members. By comparison, ours is small and has a little over 500 members. I asked for volunteers to moderate the site, but no one volunteered so I asked my sister Cecilia Juarez if she would moderate and she agreed!
Our About Section states
This is a space to air your opinions (and blow off some steam, but please use other words other than bodily functions!) about you not receiving your stimulus check, thus far. If you have already received your stimulus check, you are welcomed to take one of our polls or create your own. Please share your strategies on how you are coping while waiting for your check. This site is only for individuals who qualify for the stimulus. We have rejected scores of people who are not in the United States because, guess what, they won’t be getting a check. **Also, this is not a place to sell anything. If you post anything for sale, you will be deleted.** Don’t try to make money off misery like someone we all know who lives in DC. Please be respectful of each other. You can agree to disagree. This group is attracting members from all over the country, so please keep it civil. If you see a violation of these rules, please bring it to our attention–thank you!
Quality not Quantity
Members of the “Payment Status Not Available” group come from all over the country and membership is diverse. I asked group members how they found out about our group and some of said that in frustration, they typed the words “Payment Status Not Available” into Facebook and our group popped up. Others said their friends recommended it. Others saw it on their feed and decided to join. Many members have stated that they are relieved to know that they are not alone. The group and other groups like it reflects the frustration we have with not receiving our checks even though many of us submitted our taxes online.
Not everyone who requests to join the group is accepted. Individuals need to have an open searchable site so we can get an idea who is joining. The group is moderated by myself and Cecilia who has confessed she has watched endless YouTube videos on the topic. She is a superb moderator and interacts with group members in either English and Spanish. We also accept or reject posts and have had to remove and/or mute only a few people.
We also incorporated polls for people to answer, with questions like “If the stimulus checks that are NOT coming soon for many of us was a song, what song would it be for you?” Group members were also invited to create their own polls. This is what artists and creatives do, we challenge and create.
Our “Payment Status Not Available” group, is a dynamic ground swell of people who just want the answer to the question millions have been asking for weeks: “When will I get my stimulus check?”
You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org