Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to receive the Economic Impact Payment?

U.S. citizens or resident aliens who:

  • Have a valid Social Security Number,
  • Cannot be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer, and
  • Have an adjusted gross income under:
    • $75,000 for individuals
    • $112,500 for individuals who file taxes as head of household
    • $150,000 for married couples filing joint tax returns.

Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their adjusted gross income is between:

  • $75,000 and $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately
  • $112,500 and $136,500 for individuals who filed as head of household
  • $150,000 and $198,000 for married couples who filed jointly

The amount of the reduced payment will be based upon the taxpayer’s specific adjusted gross income.

Those who do not make enough money to file a tax return are also eligible. This includes people receiving Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), survivors benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans benefits, or Railroad Retirement benefits.

For married couples in which one spouse does not have a valid Social Security Number, the spouse with a valid Social Security Number is eligible for a stimulus check based on the bill signed into law on December 27, 2020. This is a change from the original language of the bill passed in the spring of 2020. The eligible spouse should be able to claim the first stimulus check on their 2020 taxes.

If you have a dependent child under the age of 17 who does not have a valid Social Security Number, then that child will not qualify you for the $500 dependent payment.

What is adjusted gross income?

Adjusted gross income is a number found on your tax return (Line 8b of the 1040 tax form for 2019). It is the money you receive (wages, child support, interest, etc.) minus some specific costs, like student loan interest or alimony.

Someone on my tax return doesn’t have a Social Security Number.

For married couples in which one spouse does not have a valid Social Security Number, the spouse with a valid Social Security Number is eligible for a stimulus check based on the bill signed into law on December 27, 2020. This is a change from the original language of the bill passed in the spring of 2020. The eligible spouse should be able to claim the first stimulus check on their 2020 taxes.

If you have a dependent child under the age of 17 who does not have a valid Social Security Number, then that child will not qualify you for the $500 dependent payment.

For more resources, see the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights COVID-19 resources page.

How much money will I get?

If you qualify for the stimulus payment, you’ll get up to $1,200 for yourself ($2,400 for a married couple). You’ll get an additional $500 for every eligible dependent under the age of 17.

When will I get my payment?

The government is getting payments out as quickly as possible.

People with bank account information already on file with the IRS will receive their payments fastest. Mailed paper checks could take up to five months to arrive.

Some people will receive a prepaid debit card from the government. Do not throw this away! Learn more about how to activate it at consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/economic-impact-payment-prepaid-card.

You can also check the status of your payment at IRS.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment. The site will ask you to click “okay” to confirm you are an authorized user. You may need to check every 24 hours.

How will I get my payment?

The IRS will use information from your 2019 or 2018 tax return to calculate your payment amount. Payments will be deposited directly into the same bank account used for your tax return. The IRS will mail a paper check or prepaid debit card to tax filers who did not provide a bank account number when they filed taxes.

What if my payment is sent to the wrong bank account?

If the account is closed, the bank will reject the payment. The IRS will mail a paper check to the most recent address they have on file.

What if I don’t have any income?

Those who don't have any income had until November 21, 2020, to submit their information to the IRS using the non-filers tool in order to get their stimulus payments by the end of 2020.

If you didn’t submit your payment information to the IRS by November 21, 2020, file your 2020 tax return to receive your stimulus check by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit.

What if I pay child support? Will I receive a payment?

You can still receive a payment, however, child support debt will be taken out of your payment.

Will this impact my public benefits, like food stamps or TANF?

No. As with any tax refund, these payments will not count against your eligibility for receiving public benefits. The payment also will not affect your benefit amounts.

What if I was incarcerated or am incarcerated now?

Current or previous incarceration does not affect your eligibility.

Are college students eligible?

If you attend college full-time, are under 24, and receive extensive support from your parents you will most likely be considered a dependent. Those students will not receive a check. Full-time students who provide more than half of their own financial support are eligible. If you became independent in 2020, you can claim your payment when you file your 2020 tax return by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit.

What if my stimulus payment is too low?

Your payment may be too low if your most recent tax return doesn’t reflect your current situation. Also, dependents must be under 17 and meet other qualifications to be eligible for the $500 payment. If you think your payment is too low, you can claim the remainder on your 2020 taxes by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit. More information is available at IRS.gov/newsroom/why-the-economic-impact-payment-amount-could-be-different-than-anticipated.

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