Even with extensive news coverage, questions surround the government’s COVID-19 stimulus check programs. This article should answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
Am I eligible to receive COVID-19 stimulus checks?
For most people, eligibility depends on two factors:
- Adjusted Gross Income. For the second round of checks, individuals with an AGI up to $75,000 and couples whose AGI is no more than $150,000 should receive stimulus funds.
- Dependent Status. You might be ineligible if someone else’s 2019 federal tax return listed you as a dependent.
Most people who qualified for the first check also qualified for the second. However, taxable income from investments or pension funds could affect your eligibility.
The IRS does not have my current information because I haven’t had to file a tax return for years. What should I do?
If you are receiving any federal benefits, the IRS should have automatically sent your stimulus checks. This holds true even if you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
However, people who do not receive federal benefits might need to file a simple tax return to get their banking information to the IRS. The online tool that allowed non-filers to enter their banking information is no longer available.
How will the COVID-19 stimulus checks arrive?
The IRS is sending payments by direct deposit, Direct Express cards, and paper checks.
Will children get checks also?
No, but parents can get a $600 check per child for children age 16 or younger.
What is ‘catch-up’ money for dependents?
Some people did not receive dependent money with their first COVID-19 stimulus checks. The IRS issued ‘catch-up’ payments in October 2020. Eligible parents should have received the supplemental funds the same way they received their first check.
Why should I do if I didn’t receive one or both of the stimulus checks?
People age 65 or older should report the missing money to the IRS. Alternatively, you could file a 2020 tax return to get the recovery rebate credit. Also, you can register your bank account with the IRS when submitting your return.
What is a Recovery Rebate Credit?-
Anyone who has not received their COVID-19 stimulus checks can claim the funds on their 2020 federal income tax return. The IRS is expected to do one of three things:
- Send you the money along with your refund, or
- Use the money toward any taxes you owe on your 2020 return, or
- Claim the money to use toward any outstanding federal debts.
As the government moves toward approving another stimulus package, watch for changes that might affect you personally.
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