The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes direct payments to most Americans.
President Trump signed the relief bill after Congress passed it with bipartisan support. So, who gets a stimulus check? How much? And when will it arrive?
We’ll answer those questions and more in this article…
Who Qualifies for a Stimulus Check?
A Social Security number is required to receive a payment, reports the Wall Street Journal.
According to pages 144 and 145 of the 880-page rescue plan, nonresident aliens, those who can be claimed on someone else’s tax return as a dependent, and estates or trusts are all excluded.
In addition, an earnings threshold based on adjusted gross income will mean no checks for some Americans.
How Much Money Will I Receive?
The coronavirus relief package provides direct cash payments of up to $1,200 for most adults — or $2,400 for married couples filing jointly — plus $500 per child under 17.
To get the full amount, your adjusted gross income on your 2019 tax return (or 2018, if you haven’t already filed for 2019) must not exceed the following:
- Individuals: $75,000
- Head of Household: $112,500
- Joint Return (Married Couples): $150,000
(Note: Find your adjusted gross income on line 8b of Form 1040)
If you make too much money to receive the full amount, you may still receive a smaller check. Reduced stimulus payments will go out to individuals who make up to $99,000 and married couples who make up to $198,000.
For those who are expecting a reduced payment, use this calculator from the Washington Post to determine what you’ll likely get.
What if I Don’t Normally File a Tax Return?
Senior citizens, Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are not otherwise required to file a tax return are eligible to receive an economic impact payment.
The Treasury Department and IRS previously said these groups would need to file a “simple tax return,” but that’s no longer the case.
“Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return do not need to take an action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate $1,200 payments to Social Security recipients who didn’t file tax returns in 2018 or 2019.
Recipients will get the payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just like their regular benefits.
For other people who don’t file taxes — including those with no income — the IRS has set up a new website where you can enter your payment information. Follow this link to get started.
When Will I Receive My Stimulus Payment?
The government deposited the first wave of payments into taxpayers’ bank accounts on April 11, according to a tweet from the IRS.
The Treasury Department has said that nearly 90 million people received economic impact payments as of late April. Payments are being processed as quickly as possible.
How Will I Receive My Check?
If you gave bank information to the IRS on your 2018 or 2019 taxes, the payment will be made electronically. No action required.
For those who don’t have direct deposit set up with the IRS or have changed banks, you can use the government’s new “Get My Payment” tool to update that information.
This web portal also gives you the ability to check the status of your payment.
If the IRS doesn’t already have your bank information and you don’t submit it through the portal, you’ll have to wait longer to receive your check by mail.
Some people are receiving prepaid debit cards instead of checks. Learn more on the IRS website.
Why Did I Receive “Status Not Available”?
If you are using the Get My Payment app and receive a “Status Not Available” message, the IRS says you may not be eligible for a payment or they don’t have enough information to provide a status.
Data in the app gets updated once per day, so you don’t have to check back more than that. Read more here.
What If There’s a Problem With My Payment?
There have been reports of issues with economic impact payments. If this happens to you, keep an eye on your mailbox.
The IRS will mail a letter to your last known address within 15 days after your payment is paid. This letter will explain how the payment was made and what to do if you failed to receive the payment.
Do I Have to Pay Taxes on the Payment?
The money that you receive from the CARES Act is not income and you won’t owe any taxes. The IRS says it won’t reduce your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return next year.
What if the Amount of My Payment Is Incorrect?
If you didn’t receive the amount that you believe you should have, you can claim the additional amount when you file your 2020 tax return. The IRS says this is especially important for people who may be entitled to the additional $500 per qualifying child dependent payments.
How Do I Return an Economic Impact Payment?
Someone who died before receipt of the stimulus payment isn’t eligible. In this case, the IRS says you should return the payment by following these instructions.
Will There Be an Additional Stimulus Payment?
This is a one-time payment, but the Trump administration has not ruled out additional economic relief packages in the future.
Where Can I Go for More Information?
There are some questions that can’t be answered at this time, but the IRS has set up a special website that you can check for updates. The IRS is asking people to avoid calling them about the stimulus payments.
While we can’t currently accept phone calls to our Consumer Action Center helpline, we can still answer your money questions! Visit clark.com/cac to submit your question and a Consumer Action Center volunteer will call you as soon as possible.