Dear Abby: The IRS needs help from your readers.

Starting in May, economic stimulus payments of up to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for married couples will be issued by the IRS based on 2007 tax returns. Parents also get $300 for each eligible child.

To receive it, people must file a 2007 tax return. That's all there is to it. And here's where your readers can help: Millions of people are eligible, but may not know it. Certain retirees, disabled vets and low-wage workers do not normally file a tax return. However, this year they must in order to receive the payments.

Your readers can help not just the IRS but perhaps themselves, friends or family by spreading the word. Please ask them to mention it to people they think might qualify. The eligibility rules are on, the best source of information.

Generally, people who have at least $3,000 from earned income or certain benefits from Social Security, Railroad Retirement and Veterans Affairs — or a combination of income from these benefits — are eligible. They need only provide a few details on a Form 1040A. We'll do the rest. —Doug Shulman, IRS commissioner

Dear Doug: You're a wise man who obviously understands the power of word-of-mouth "advertising." And I am sure Dear Abby readers will be glad to pitch in and help get the word out so that everyone who is entitled will receive a check. For further details, simply go to Readers, thank you for helping to publicize this effort.

Dear Abby: One day my dad was talking to one of my friends, and he said, "We're poor." Abby, we live in a nice house in a middle-class neighborhood. Both my parents have their master's degrees, and I never have to worry about having something to eat or if I can afford to pay for my college education.

My parents always make comments about how much things cost and how much they can't buy. I'm sorry, but it's just a little bit irksome. I feel like their obsession with money is putting a crimp on enjoying the good things in life. Why can't they be a little more "cup is half-full"? —Lindsay in Northern California

Dear Lindsay: Your father may have gotten some bad news about his investments the day he spoke to your friend — as many people have over the past year — or perhaps he suspected that she was palling around with you because she thought you had money. Ask your dad why he said what he did, because the answer could be enlightening.

It would have been helpful if you had mentioned what preceded your father's comment. That would have put it in context.

Dear Abby: My husband has four siblings, all adults with families of their own. A little more than a year ago, my father-in-law, "Carl," asked Mom for a divorce. That's when we learned that their relationship had been going downhill for several years.

All of the "kids," especially my husband, have embraced Mom and shunned Carl. They say terrible things about him and his new girlfriend, "Angie," whom they refuse to meet. We hardly see Carl anymore, and the few times he has come to our home for dinner, my husband has made it clear that Angie is not welcome.

I don't pretend to know how it feels to have your parents split up after 40 years. I try to be understanding and supportive to my husband and his family. I have kept my opinions to myself, but I am frustrated with all of them. I'm certain Carl waited to end his marriage until after all his children were old enough to understand. I feel they need to make some kind of move to get past this. Is there anything I can do? —Keeping It to Myself in Pennsylvania

Dear Keeping It: No, there isn't. Your husband and his siblings are reacting emotionally to the breakup of their parents' marriage. Perhaps at a later date — after more time passes — they will come to accept it. That is, unless they perceive Angie as having caused the divorce.

I see nothing positive to be gained by putting yourself in the middle of this. Sometimes silence is golden.

Dear Abby: Why do people put old photos in the obituaries? When photos started appearing in obituaries, I thought it was a little strange. But publishing a photo taken at age 20 of a person who died at 85 makes no sense to me. —Just Call Me Snapshot

Dear Snapshot: Consider this: Perhaps the deceased — or the grieving family — preferred that he or she be remembered in the full bloom of youth rather than ravaged by age or disease. That's the logical explanation.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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