News of the Economic Relief (Stimulus) payments has been EVERYWHERE for the last couple of weeks and, knowing that a lot of our friends and neighbors could really use that extra help right now, we thought it would be smart to pass along what we know and offer you a few quick bonus tips along the way. We got a lot of our info here right from the IRS, so if you want more details or just want to check for yourself, head over there (when you're done reading this).
First, the question on everybody's mind:
Will I Get Economic Relief Money?
The details look like this:
If your 2018 or 2019 taxes show an adjusted gross income (AGI) up to:
- $75,000 for individuals
- $112,500 for head of household filers and
- $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns
You generally qualify for a (currently) one-time payment of $1,200 (for people who file their Federal taxes as an individual or head of household) or $2,400 (for married couples that file a joint return) plus an additional $500 for each qualifying child.*
Once your income is above those amounts, the actual amount of your possible payment will decrease by $5 for every $100 your income is higher.
If your 2018 or 2019 taxes show an AGI in the ranges below, you may still be eligible for a reduced payment.
- $75,000 and $99,000 if your tax filing status was single or married filing separately
- 112,500 and $136,500 for head of household
- $150,000 and $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly
If your adjusted gross income is high enough, your payment will be phased out entirely and there are some exceptions to the income guidelines:
According to the IRS Website:
“Eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans' benefits as well as taxpayers who do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return will receive a payment. This also includes those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from certain benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Retirees who receive either Social Security retirement or Railroad Retirement benefits will also receive payments automatically.”
*Bonus tip: If you're not sure if your dependent children fit the definition of 'qualifying child', check that out on the IRS website or contact your local tax pro.
What Do I Need to Do?
Good news! If you filed your taxes in 2019 or were on the ball and already filed them before the tax deadline was extended this year, you just have to be patient. The IRS will use your income information for 2018 (if 2019 was the last time you filed) or 2019 (if you’re a go-getter) to figure out your stimulus payment and it will be either direct deposited to the account you used for your tax refund, or mailed to the address on your tax return.*
If you haven't filed taxes yet for 2018 or 2019, you should file a tax return as soon as possible to get your stimulus check.
*Bonus tip: There’s still hope if your address has changed, the account your tax refund was deposited into is closed, or you have any other worries that your stimulus money won’t make it your way. The US Treasury is developing a web portal where you can update your info and get that check sooner. It’s not available yet but keep watching and we’ll update you when we see it.
What if you don’t typically file a tax return?
You know what? The IRS has some helpful info for us there, too:
“Social Security and Railroad Retirement recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action. The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate Economic Impact Payments of $1,200 to these individuals even if they did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients are also part of this group who don't need to take action.
For Social Security, Railroad retirees and SSDI who have qualifying children, they can take an additional step to receive $500 per qualifying child.
There are other individuals such as low-income workers and certain veterans and individuals with disabilities who aren't required to file a tax return, but they are still eligible for the Economic Impact Payments. Taxpayers can check the IRS.gov tool - Do I Need to File a Tax Return? - to see if they have a filing requirement. “
When Will I Get My Money?
Word from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his staff is that stimulus payments will start being sent, in batches, as early as this week, with the lowest income recipients getting priority. A lot of taxpayers qualify for this stimulus payment, though, and we do know that all of the payments won’t go out at the same time. More likely, they’ll be sent in weekly batches meaning that some of us could be waiting until as late as September.
There is a silver lining, though, even if you haven’t filed taxes for 2018 or 2019, there’s still time. According to the IRS website, the Economic Stimulus Payment will be available to eligible recipients through the rest of 2020.
And even though there’s not a surefire way to know when you’ll see your money ahead of time, the IRS plans to notify taxpayers by mail (at their last known address) once their payment has been deposited or mailed. They’ll send that notice within 15 days after the payment is paid and let you know when and how that money was sent. Once you get your notification, you’ll have everything you need to track it down if you haven’t gotten it.
What Else Should I Know?
That’s a big question, so let us give you some bullet points to chew on:
- Calculating and distributing funds on this scale is a massive job, and federal employees are facing the same stress, fear, and possible risk of infection that we all are. It’s probably reasonable for us to give them a break and expect some delays under the circumstances.
- The Simplicity Team is committed to doing everything we can to help you get access to your funds, but we want you to know that there are things that could delay your deposit. If the account for your direct deposit is closed, or the account number on the direct deposit is wrong, we have to follow the federal rules and send those back. If that happens, don’t panic! You’ll be able to get a paper check instead.
- If you’re worried about not getting your money fast enough to handle bills or expenses right now, reach out. Start with your friends at Simplicity CU and let us see how we can help you. From there, our local United Way agencies have been working non-stop to make sure all of our friends and neighbors are taken care of. Get the help you need right now, you’re worth it.
- If you’re someone who’s fortunate to not have an immediate need for your stimulus check, there are still a lot of healthy ways to use it. Save it for a rainy day, find a safe investment to park it in, use some to help people that are struggling, or just to brighten the day of someone you love.
Here are a couple more links we thought where helpful: