Politics & Government

Coronavirus Stimulus Checks: How To Know If You're Eligible

A long-awaited stimulus bill includes direct payments to Americans. Here's what you need to know about if and when you'll receive a check.

Wondering if you're eligible for the second round of federal coronavirus relief payments? Here's what you need to know about eligibility, how much the payments will be and when you might receive yours.
Wondering if you're eligible for the second round of federal coronavirus relief payments? Here's what you need to know about eligibility, how much the payments will be and when you might receive yours. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

ACROSS AMERICA — Congress on Monday passed a long-awaited $900 billion coronavirus economic stimulus package, paving the way for many pandemic-weary and financially strapped Americans to receive direct payments from the federal government.

Similar to the landmark CARES Act passed by Congress in April, questions remain about who will receive the payments, how much the payments will be, and when people can expect to see checks in mailboxes.

While the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury have yet to release official guidance, here's what we know so far about who will receive payments and when they could expect them:

How much are the payments this round?

Most individuals who make under a certain amount will receive a one-time, non-taxable payment of $600. Full payments will go to people who meet the following thresholds for adjusted gross income: $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for those married filing jointly.

Dependents under age 17 are also eligible for $600 checks, and there's no cap on the number a household can receive, according to the Tax Foundation. That means if a single person earned $50,000 in 2019 and has four children under 17, the individual will be eligible for a $3,000 payment.

The payments phase out entirely at $87,000 for single filers with no qualifying dependents and $174,000 for those married filing jointly with no qualifying dependents. Individuals who make $99,000 or more per year are not eligible.

This calculator can give you an estimate on how much a second stimulus check could be based on your income, filing status and number of dependents.

Who else is eligible for payments?

If you are a U.S. citizen married to someone who is not, your household will be eligible to receive a single $600 payment, The New York Times reported.

Under the CARES Act, a single person without a Social Security number disqualified the entire household from receiving a payment. In a crucial change, this new legislation will also allow citizen family members to receive that first check retroactively if they meet the other eligibility requirements.

Gig workers are also eligible for payment.

Who is not eligible?

Adults who are claimed as dependents (i.e., many college students) are not eligible for direct payments, according to Vox.

When will I receive a check?

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that millions of Americans would begin to receive stimulus checks as early as next week.

Whether or not you filed taxes in 2019 could play a role in how quickly you get your payment.

If you filed a 2019 tax return and included your direct deposit information, the payment will likely be automatically deposited by the IRS in the coming weeks. Those without direct deposit information on file can expect to receive payments in the mail, either in the form of a paper check or prepaid debit card.

This spring, direct payments through the CARES Act were distributed in a similar fashion. For the most part, those who opted for a paper check or debit card waited much longer for their payment compared to those who used direct deposit. However, paper checks were sent first to those making less than $20,000 per year, Vox reported.

What do I need to do to receive a check?

Most won't have to do a thing. If you're not sure whether the IRS has your direct deposit information, the agency rolled out an online tool in March that allows you to submit the information required to have your payment direct deposited. That tool is still active.

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