Stimulus Check FAQs
Who is eligible to receive a stimulus check?
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 the US government passed on December 27, 2020.
What is adjusted gross income?
Adjusted gross income is a number found on your tax return (Line 8b of the 2019 1040 tax form). It is the money you receive (wages, child support, interest, etc.) minus some specific costs, like student loan interest or alimony.
How do I get my stimulus check?
The IRS will use information from your 2019 or 2018 tax return to calculate your payment amount. Economic Impact Payments (stimulus checks) will be deposited directly into the same bank account used for your tax return. The IRS will mail a paper check to tax filers who did not provide a bank account number when they filed taxes and who did not provide updated banking information before May 13th. Some people may receive a prepaid debit card from the government. Do not throw this away! Learn more about how to activate it at www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/economic-impact-payment-prepaid-card.
People receiving Social Security (retirement, survivors, and disability), veterans benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Railroad Retirement benefits who should have received the stimulus check automatically but who haven’t received it should file a 2020 tax return to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.
If you have not filed taxes or do not need to file taxes, you can use the Tax Help page to figure out what to do next. You may want to get a bank account first to get a direct deposit check directly to your account. Paper checks could take longer.
When will I get my stimulus check?
The IRS started making payments the week of April 13, 2020.
If you have not filed taxes for 2019 yet, the deadline was extended until July 15th. If you do not owe the IRS or the State of Illinois any taxes, you can file taxes after the July 15 filing deadline without a penalty.
Those who don't need to file taxes had until November 21, 2020, to submit their payment information to the IRS using the non-filers site in order to get their stimulus payments by the end of 2020.
Use the IRS Get My Payment app to check the status of your payment. You will be asked to click okay to confirm that you are an authorized user. Information is updated every 24 hours, so you can check again the next day if information is not available.
How do I know if my payment has been sent?
Use the IRS Get My Payment app to check the status of your payment. You'll be asked to click okay to confirm that you are an authorized user. Some people have had to check daily to get updated information.
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 site 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.
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.
The City of Chicago, Open Society Foundation, and The Resurrection Project have created the Chicago Resiliency Fund for people who are ineligible for stimulus checks. You can receive $1,000 from the Fund if you reside in Chicago. You can check the Fund's web page to find out when they are accepting applications. You may have to return to the site later to find out when they will accept them again.
For more resources, see the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights COVID-19 resources page.
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.
Are college students eligible for payments?
College students who are not considered dependents are eligible. Generally, college students who are under 24, attend full-time, and receive significant financial support from their parents are considered dependents. These students are not eligible.
I am currently or was recently incarcerated. Am I eligible?
Current or previous incarceration does not affect your eligibility.
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 the payment is sent to the wrong bank account?
If the bank account that the IRS is depositing the stimulus payment into is now closed, the bank will reject the deposit. The IRS will then mail a paper check to the address it has on file for you.
If you have moved since you last filed a return with the IRS, you'll need to make sure the United States Postal Service (USPS) forwards your mail to the right address: Change Your Address with USPS to make sure you receive your stimulus check at your current address.
Also, you can attempt to track your stimulus check using the USPS Informed Delivery tool.
What if my payment check is being mailed to the wrong address?
If you have moved since you last filed a return with the IRS, you'll need to make sure the United States Postal Service (USPS) has your current address. Change Your Address with USPS so they can forward your mail to the correct address.
Also, you can attempt to track your stimulus check using the USPS Informed Delivery tool.
What should I do if my stimulus payment is the wrong number?
There are a few reasons why your stimulus payment could be lower than what you expected. Some are included below:
- If you haven’t filed your 2019 tax return or the IRS hasn’t finished reviewing your 2019 return, your payment will be based on your 2018 tax return. If you earned more money or had fewer dependents in 2018, your payment may be lower.
- In order to receive $500 per eligible dependent, the dependent must be under the age of 17 and meet other qualifications.
- Past-due child support can be taken out of the stimulus payment.
The IRS released more information here.
If you are eligible for more than what you received, file your 2020 tax return and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit to receive any missing amounts.
What if my stimulus check goes to a closed account?
If the stimulus check is deposited to an invalid or closed bank account, the bank will reject the deposit. The IRS will then mail your payment as soon as possible to the address it has on file for you. The IRS Get My Payment app will be updated to reflect the date your payment will be mailed. Typically, it will take up to 14 days to receive the payment. The IRS states that no action is needed on your part to ensure the payment will be re-issued.
Where is my stimulus check coming from?
The US Treasury issues the stimulus check.
Some stimulus checks have been issued on a prepaid debit card called the Economic Impact Payment Card. If you receive an Economic Impact Payment Card, it will come in the mail in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.” The Visa name will appear on the front of the Card; the back of the Card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A. You can visit https://www.eipcard.com/ for more information.
Will I get my stimulus check on my Emerald Card?
According to H&R Block, it sounds like you can receive your stimulus check on your Emerald Card. For more detailed questions, we recommend contacting H&R Block directly: https://www.hrblock.com/support/