Million of Americans received a first round of stimulus checks starting in April after the country shutdown and the economy took a hit. This guide will cover who qualifies for the first round of stimulus checks, who does not qualify for one, and any special requirements there may be in order to receive one.
Using the IRS Stimulus Check Portal
The IRS Stimulus Check Portal is an online tool you can use to check on the status of your stimulus check, enter your direct deposit information, and confirm your mailing address. There are two options for checking on the status of your stimulus check and which one you use depends on whether or not you are required to file Federal income taxes.
- Get My Payment: Individuals and married couples who file income taxes jointly are required to use the "Get My Payment" portal to get their stimulus check. Once you click on the "Get My Payment" link you will be directed to a page informing you that the website you are on is for authorized use only. Click "OK" to be directed to a page which asks you to input your Social Security Number, date of birth, street address, and zip code. It is extremely important that you enter your information exactly the way it is on file with the IRS or else you may get an error message or temporarily locked out of the website for 24 hours.
- Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here: Individuals and married couples who aren't required to file Federal income taxes should use the "Non-Filers" portal to get your stimulus check. Government program beneficiaries who are not required to file income taxes, but have a qualifying dependent child residing in their household should also use this portal in order to get the additional $500/qualifying dependent. Non-filers have a deadline of October 15, 2020 to sign up for their stimulus check.
Basic Requirements for Receiving a Check
To receive a stimulus check you must meet certain yearly income thresholds, among other things. Individuals who make up to $75,000, heads of household who make up to $112,500, and married couples who make up to $150,000 per year qualify for the entire stimulus check amount, which is $1,200 per person.
If you make more than that amount then your check will be deducted $5 for every $100 in income over the threshold until being phased out entirely at $99,001 for individuals, $136,501 for heads of household, and $198,001 for married couples filing jointly.
An additional $500 per qualified dependent 16 and under should be added to eligible households.
Special Requirements for Receiving a Check
Active duty military, Social Security recipients, people receiving disability insurance, VA Compensation and Pension beneficiaries, and Railroad Retirement recipients are all eligible to receive stimulus checks, with the same basic income requirements as everyone else. Individuals and couples who fall into these categories are also eligible for the additional $500 per qualifying dependent aged 16 and under.
Americans living abroad are also eligible to receive a stimulus check as long as they have filed their 2018 and/or 2019 Federal income taxes. If you are an expatriate and your spouse is not then you must have filed your taxes separately in order to qualify for a stimulus check. The American citizen will still be able to claim the stimulus check amount if they file their 2020 taxes as an individual. The income and dependent requirements are the same as everyone else.
Stimulus checks should have been directly deposited into the bank account associated with the beneficiary, with paper checks or debit cards being mailed to people who do not have direct deposit set up.
Receiving Money for Dependents
Parents who have eligible dependents can receive an additional $500 per child. Individuals and married couples who have eligible dependents must meet the predetermined income requirements in order to qualify for the additional $500 per child, so anyone making over the cutoff is not eligible for the additional amount.
A qualifying dependent is defined as any "son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant of any of them" who is 16 or under at the end of the taxable year. If a child was born or adopted since a parent or parents last filed taxes then they can claim the additional $500 per child on their 2020 tax returns.
Divorced parents of eligible dependents qualify for the additional $500 per dependent, but only the parent who claims the child on their taxes will receive the additional money. Divorced parents of multiple qualifying dependents may split who they claim on their taxes, but that is up to the parents to sort out.
Common Disqualifications for Adults
Individuals who make $99,001 and higher, heads of household who make $136,501 and higher, and couples who make $198,001 and higher are ineligible for any amount of stimulus money.
In addition, US citizens married to immigrants without a Social Security Number who file taxes jointly with their non-US citizen spouse are ineligible to receive a stimulus check in 2020. However, the US citizen can file their 2020 taxes as an individual and claim the stimulus check if they meet the income requirements.
People incarcerated after being convicted of a crime, held in a mental health facility after being found guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity, or incompetent to stand trial, confined to a halfway house, or in violation of probation or parole are also ineligible to receive a stimulus check.
Expatriates who have not filed taxes for the years 2018 and 2019 are ineligible to receive a stimulus check, but will be eligible once they update their tax returns.
Common Disqualifications for Dependents
Dependents aged 17-19 who are claimed on their parents taxes are ineligible for both the entire stimulus check amount and the additional $500 per dependent. Dependents aged 17-24 and claimed on their parents taxes are also ineligible for both the entire stimulus check amount and the additional $500 per dependent.
Senior citizens aged 65 and older and claimed as dependents are ineligible for both the entire stimulus check amount and the additional $500 per dependent. As are adult children with disabilities who are claimed as dependents.
Lastly, dependents with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a valid Social Security Number are ineligible for both the entire stimulus check amount and the additional $500 per dependent.
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