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Stimulus check FAQs: Will you qualify for a $1,200 COVID-19 stimulus check?

Frequently asked questions about the plan
Will you qualify for a $1,200 COVID-19 stimulus check?
Posted at 12:13 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 13:45:07-04

The bill is signed and the federal $2 trillion stimulus package is on the way.

But many people are still confused and wonder if they will get a check for $1,200.

Here's what we do know about who will qualify for the stimulus funds laid out the CARES Act, as of April 8.

Q: How will I receive my check?

For those who received their last IRS tax refund via direct deposit, the money will go directly into their bank account.

Those that received their refund the old-fashioned way, a check will come by mail. But that could take several months, the government says.

The IRS is supposed to set up a portal on its website in the coming days, where anyone can update their bank account.

Q: Will I qualify for a $1,200 stimulus check?

About 90% of adults should qualify for an initial $1,200 stimulus payment, with a second payment possible later this spring. If they qualify:

  • Individuals will receive a check for $1,200.
  • Married couples will receive a check for $2,400.
  • Each dependent child will receive $500 (payable to their parents). If your child is a college student who works a job, the rules are still murky as to who gets the check.

Q: Who does not qualify for a check?

High-income individuals will not receive a check.

  • Benefits will phase out starting at $75,000 in Adjusted Gross Income.
  • Singles earning more than $99,000 (Adjusted Gross Income) in 2019 will not receive any check.
  • Married couples earning more than $198,000 in 2019 will not receive any check.

Q: What if you owe back child support or back taxes?

Right now, it does not appear the government will take anything out of stimulus checks for unpaid taxes or other government liens.

However, the Wall Street Journal says back child support will likely be taken out of checks.

Q: What if you get Social Security and do not file taxes?

Seniors on Social Security and younger people on disability will now qualify for a check automatically.

Those that receive Social Security do not have to file any tax forms, and the check will go to the same bank account (or mailbox) where they receive monthly benefit checks.

However, younger people with very little income and not file taxes must have filed taxes last year or this spring in order to receive a check. That check will be based on your 2018 or 2019 tax return.

So younger people must file a 1040 this spring, or the government has no way of knowing if they qualify.

Q: What if some of your income is unreported cash?

That should not affect the checks, as they are based on the last tax return a person has filed.

Q: When will I receive my money?

Congressional leaders hope to have the first checks heading to bank accounts in the next week or two. However, if the IRS does not have a bank account number on file, it could be three months before paper checks arrive.

As always, don't waste your money.

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