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While Some Are Seeing Tax Refunds From IRS Months Later At Last, A Group Steps In To Help Those Who Still Aren't

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In the past month, we've been digging for answers to the question so many of you are desperately asking – "Where is my refund check?"

CBS 2's Marie Saavedra first brought us word of the backlog, and a lack of staff leaving calls unanswered. But on Wednesday night, there was a bit of good news for people still waiting - and another option for those trying to reach the IRS.

"Believe me, I tried and tried and tried," said Maureen Shekleton.

Shekleton, of Glen Ellyn, did everything she could to try to track down her tax refund that she submitted back on April 20.

"I waited until about the third week of June, and then I started trying to contact the IRS," she said.

Then, Shekleton experienced the familiar phone trap that so many of you have fallen into - with questions for the tax agency that never get answered.

A call to the IRS resulted in a recorded voice saying: "Welcome to the Internal Revenue Service. Please try again later or on our next business day."

Shekleton, like many of you, checked the IRS' "Where's My Refund" site daily, for months.

The site is at Enter your Social Security number, filing status, and refund amount, and you get an update – but it's not much of an update. "Still Processing" means you should just keep waiting. And that's what Shekleton did, until this week.

"I think it was Monday morning, it said: 'You'll be getting your payment. You should see it in the bank account on the 18th,' and sure enough, it was there this morning," she said.

That was great news for her. But what about the rest of those sitting in tax purgatory?

"I've said this refrain many times to the people calling our hotline - this is sometimes a waiting game," said Christina Cheng.

Cheng is with "Get My Payment Illinois." It is a group of nonprofits working to answer people's questions, and hold their hands through this often frustrating process.

"Is it more of a struggle sometimes to get what's yours? Absolutely," Cheng said, "but that doesn't mean we should give up the fight."

The group works to resolve issues with returns, stimulus checks, and the child tax credit. But even they are running up against the short-staffed IRS.

"The IRS has to be given more money or more resources to better staff these lines and their offices," Cheng said.

Cheng says that has to change, before a third tax season of frustrated filers.

CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.

We'll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.

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