According to the IRS, they have sent out the first wave of economic impact payments on Saturday, April 12. When can you expect your stimulus check, and how much will it be?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27, 2020, and includes a one-time cash payment of $1,200 to many Americans with Social Security numbers. These Economic Impact Payments are a one-time payment from the government for citizens during this time of financial uncertainty.
Note: This is a separate program from tax returns – it does not affect your tax refund or tax payment due.
What do I have to do to get my stimulus check?
Most eligible U.S. taxpayers will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments including individuals who
- filed a federal income tax for 2018 or 2019
- receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits
- receive Railroad Retirement benefits
If you did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes, and are required to file, you can file your taxes now to ensure that you get your check as soon as possible.
If you aren’t required to file federal income taxes for 2018 or 2019, you can provide the necessary information to the IRS easily and quickly for no fee through Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info. This information will determine your eligibility and payment amount.
When will I get my stimulus check?
If you filed your taxes for 2018 or 2019 and authorized direct deposit for those returns, the IRS will automatically deposit your payment into those direct deposit accounts. These deposits starting on Saturday, April 11, and should arrive by April 15.
If you do not have direct deposit authorized, you will have to wait for a paper check; which may take a few months.
Deposits will continue in the days ahead, starting with people who have filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019 and authorized direct deposit. Others — including people who haven’t filed returns, authorized direct deposits, or receive Social Security — will probably have to wait weeks or months before seeing their money.
The IRS expects to start issuing paper checks the week of May 4. They will issue approximately 5 million per week, with individuals with the lowest income receiving their checks first. The IRS has until the end of 2020 to transfer the payments, but hopefully no one will have to wait that long.
Can I get my stimulus check faster?
If you haven’t received your direct deposit by April 15, or wish to receive direct deposit instead of a check, they offer a Get my Payment Application to provide your direct deposit information. If you used direct deposit the last time you filed taxes but your bank account information has changed, you will need to provide the updated information with the Get My Payment Application as well.
Note about direct deposits: some have been getting a message saying payment status unavailable, or have been unable to add the direct deposit information, so there do appear to be glitches. Some of this may be due to (forgotten) changes with the filers information, lack of filing 2018 or 2019 taxes (when required), having received last refund (or advance refund) through a tax preparation service, or simply technical glitches from outdated software the IRS uses. Unfortunately, we don’t have tips for the true glitches other than to keep checking the “get my payment” page every day or so. Trying it over and over all day long isn’t likely to produce different results though. If you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes due to the extension, you can try filing yours electronically to see if that helps.
Are you expecting a check payment but have moved since you last filed taxes? You must provide your new mailing address through the Get My Payment page as well.
How much will I get with my stimulus check?
Under the economic relief package, many individuals are due up to $1,200 and couples will receive up to $2,400, plus $500 per child. Stimulus payments of $1,200 will also go automatically to Americans who are on Social Security retirement, Railroad Retirement, veterans benefits or disability benefit programs.
Your stimulus check is based on your adjusted gross income from your 2018 or 2019 tax return.
You will receive the maximum payment amount of $1,200 (or $2,400 if you are married filing jointly), if your AGI is less than $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 if you file as head of household, or $150,000 for married filing joint tax returns.
You will receive a reduced payment amount if your AGI for is between $75,000 and $99,000 for single filers (or married filing separately), between $112,500 and $136,500 as head of household, or between $150,00 to $198,000 for married filing a joint tax return. For parents, there is a $500 payment for each child under the age of 17. Find out more information whether or not you qualify here on the IRS page.
The amount of the reduced payment will be reduced by $5 for every additional $100 of adjusted gross income for the limits above, and those making more than the limits above ($99,000 single, $136,500 head of household, $198,000 married joint) will not receive anything.
Who won’t receive a stimulus check?
You will not receive a payment if you income exceeds the limits above, if you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return, you do not have a valid Social Security number, you are a nonresident alien, or you filed Form 1040-NR or Form 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040-PR or Form 1040-SS for 2019.
Confirmation of payment and beware of scams!
Once payment is made, the IRS will mail a letter to your last known address within 15 days. This will include information on how the payment was issued, and how to report if you did not receive the payment. If you receive a letter from the IRS and aren’t sure if it’s legitimate, visit IRS.gov first to determine if it’s a scam.
Do not respond to any phone calls or texts claiming to come from the IRS – it is a scam. The IRS will not call you or text you. Do not respond to any email claimed to come from the IRS. The IRS will not email you. If you are contacted by either of these methods and asked to provide information in order to receive your stimulus, DO NOT PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION. These phone calls and emails can seem very threatening, or may make you believe you won’t receive the money if you don’t provide the information. Phone calls and emails from the IRS are SCAMS.
NOTE: Please make sure your friends and family know that phone calls and emails are a scam. Older adults are especially prone to falling for this type of scam.
What should I do with my stimulus check?
This is entirely up to you and your needs. If you have bills that are due, we recommend that you pay those bills first, even if you’ve been given an extension on the bills. You will eventually need to pay any balances accrued during the extensions, so it’s best to take care of that right away.
If you don’t have any bills or debts that need paid, we urge you to keep this money in your bank account, using it for needs, not wants. Yes, it’s considered a “stimulus” check, with the intent to continue to stimulate the economy. But in these uncertain times (and really, always), it’s important to have a little cushion in your bank account. It may seem like a lot of “free” money for many, but you never know when something could happen to your health, your car, your job, your home – even if those things feel secure right now.
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