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FAQ: Economic Impact Payment

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act included a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment to help Americans cope with the coronavirus emergency. Most Americans are eligible for these payments, which will be issued by the IRS via direct deposit or mail  like other federal benefits.

The payment will be based on your 2019 or 2018 tax returns, or 2019 Social Security statement. The first payments were disbursed on the week of April 13th, and the payments will continue to be disbursed on a rolling basis over the following months. Economic Impact Payments are not subject to taxes, will not affect how much a person will receive or owe when they file taxes next year, and have no impact on eligibility for federal government assistance or benefit programs.

Economic Impact Payment eligibility

Am I eligible for this $1,200 Economic Impact Payment?

The CARES Act included a $1,200 “Economic Impact Payment” for individuals who: have a valid Social Security number, can't be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer, and fall within the adjusted gross income parameters outlined below. In addition, parents will receive $500 per minor child.

Will I receive the full $1,200 Economic Impact Payment?

You are eligible to receive the full $1,200 payment if your adjusted gross annual income is up to:

  • $75,000 for individuals
  • $112,500 for head of household filers and
  • $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns

You will receive a reduced payment if your adjusted gross income is between:

  • $75,000 and $99,000 if your filing status was single, or married filing separately
  • 112,500 and $136,500 as a head of household
  • $150,000 and $198,000 if your filing status was married filing jointly

I am a student. Will I receive a payment?

If you are an adult student over the age of 17 who was claimed as a dependent on a 2018 or 2019 tax return, you will receive neither the $1,200 payment for individuals, nor the $500 dependent payment. If you are no longer able to be claimed as a dependent in 2020 (for example, if you are graduating from college this spring), you may be eligible to receive a $1,200 credit on your 2020 tax return.

I know many of you are frustrated by this provision and I am too. That’s why I cosponsored H.R. 6420, the All Dependent Children Count Act. This bill would expand eligibility so that all eligible families who can claim a dependent receive the $500 dependent payment. I will continue to advocate for this change to be included in future stimulus bills.

Is my Economic Impact Payment taxable as 2020 income?

No, you will not owe taxes on your Economic Impact Payment, and it will not affect how much you will receive or owe when you file taxes next year. It will also have no impact on your eligibility for federal government assistance or benefit programs.

Payment status

Where can I check the status of my payment?

You can check the status of your Economic Impact Payment at this link on the IRS website.

At this site, you will be able to check your payment status, confirm whether you want to receive your payment via check or direct deposit, and enter your bank account information if the IRS does not have it already.

Will I receive my Economic Impact Payment automatically?

If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and are eligible for the payment, you will receive it automatically.

Payments are also automatic for people who receive Social Security retirement or survivors’ benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement benefits or Veterans Affairs benefits.

I won’t receive my payment automatically. What do I need to do?

If you had a gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) in 2019, or were otherwise not required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, you can quickly and easily provide the necessary information through the IRS website for free.

I have a dependent and I also receive Social Security retirement or survivors’ benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement benefits or Veterans Affairs benefits. Will I receive a payment for my dependents?

If you did not register your children on the non-filer tool, the deadline has passed to get the additional $500 per eligible child. You will receive the extra $500 per dependent when you file a return in 2021.

When can I expect to receive my payment?

The IRS began sending out payments in mid-April and will continue disbursing payments over the next 20 weeks.

According to the Treasury Department, Social Security retirement and survivor non-filers, SSDI non-filers SSI non-filers, and Veterans benefit recipients should begin receiving their payments by early May.

If you have not received your payment yet, the IRS is likely still processing your payment. You can check the status of your payment using the Get My Payment tool. Visit the Get My Payment Frequently Asked Questions page on the IRS website to learn more.

The IRS will send payments by mail for those who do not have direct deposit. The IRS is still working to process information from the Non-Filers tool and from 2019 tax returns, and due to the high number of people receiving payments, it could be several weeks before they are all delivered.

If you requested a direct deposit and have not received it, it is possible the IRS does not have the correct bank account information for you, or your financial institution rejected the direct deposit. In either case, your payment will be mailed to the address the IRS has on file.

Your stimulus payment also might be delayed if you have previously used a tax preparation service. If you use a tax preparation service, the IRS encourages you to input your bank information through the Get My Payment portal. The IRS will mail your stimulus payment if they do not receive direct deposit information.

Issues with Economic Impact Payment

I am having problems with the IRS website. What should I do?

Many people have reported problems with the IRS tools, including issues with tracking their payment, and inputting bank or Social Security information. The IRS is aware that this tool has had several glitches, and they are working to update their website as quickly as possible. I encourage you to keep trying to use the Get My Payment tool. The IRS also has a list of FAQs for people experiencing problems with this tool.

Information on the IRS website is only updated once every day, so checking your status more than once in a 24-hour period will not lead to a different result.

I’m worried the payment will be sent to the wrong address or bank account.

If the IRS has an outdated bank account or address on file for you, it could end up sending your money to the wrong place. While you can use the Get My Payment IRS online form to provide bank information if the IRS doesn't have it on file, you cannot update existing direct deposit information or your address due to the risk of fraud. If you have not filed your 2019 tax return, enter your new address on your tax return when you file. When your tax return is processed, the IRS will update their records.

If your old bank account is closed, the stimulus funds will be returned, and the IRS will send a paper check once it's notified. This will go to the address on file from your most recent return.

If your old bank account is still open, you'll have to work with the bank to try to access the money. Unfortunately, while the federal government isn't seizing stimulus payments due to unpaid debts, other creditors are. If the old account has been frozen by a collector or has a negative balance due to fees, you could lose some or all of your stimulus funds.

If you’ve moved since you filed your most recent return, complete the USPS Change-of-Address form to set up mail forwarding.

I did not receive the full amount I was entitled to.

If you did not receive the full amount to which you believe you are entitled, you will be able to claim the additional amount when you file your 2020 tax return next year.  This is particularly important for individuals who may be entitled to the additional $500 per qualifying child dependent payments.

If you have a child that was born, adopted, or placed into foster care in 2020, you will not receive an additional amount for these children because the payment in 2020 is based only on information from your 2019 or 2018 tax return. You may claim the child next year for an additional credit on your 2020 tax return.

You can also review “How to calculate my Economic Impact Payment” on the IRS website or through the Washington Post’s calculator.

I received a payment for a deceased relative. Do I need to return it?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has indicated that payments to a deceased relative will need to be returned. The IRS will release guidance on how to return the payment shortly. Check the IRS website regularly for updates.