Many American citizens sighed in relief when the U.S. Government announced that everyone would be receiving a stimulus check. Although I have been fortunate to work from home, the relief payment offers some peace of mind. If yours has not arrived, it is time to look at reasons for not getting a stimulus check.
Who Gets a Stimulus Check
There are plenty of rumors and misinformation out there, so make sure you understand who is eligible to receive a stimulus check. According to the IRS website, any adult with a valid Social Security number will receive a $1,200 payment. Parents will also receive an additional $500 for each eligible child or dependent. Full benefits are offered to single adults earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income and $150,000 for married couples.
However, payments decline if you make more, and are completely phased out for earners above $99,000 and couples over $198,000. For heads of household claiming children, payments are capped at $136,500. If you are above these thresholds, you can use this calculator to help you determine what you will receive.
Who Isn’t Getting a Check
If you haven’t received a check, you may be wondering why. First, high earners are excluded. Second, you are not eligible if someone claims you as a dependent. Third, you must have a valid social security number.
This last point creates some gray areas for non-citizens, nationals, and those waiting for their green cards. The bottom line is that if you have not passed the ‘substantial presence test,’ then you are not eligible to get a stimulus check. Certain filers in Puerto Rico using Forms 1040-PR or 1040-SS are also excluded from receiving a check as well.
Why You May Not Have Gotten Yours
If you have already filed your taxes for 2018 or 2019, your check has already been sent. Those who included their bank information for a direct deposit were the first to receive them. Mine was mailed to my house and arrived just last week. If you are still watching the mailbox, you can visit the IRS website to help you locate it.
Keep in mind, there may be reasons you are not getting a stimulus check. If you were not required to file a tax return, you may need to complete the form online for “non-filers.” This includes people who earn below the required amount or dependents not automatically accounted for in the payment.
There are also limited circumstances in which your money might be withheld for repayment. If you owe child support, you check may be used against your debt. Banks can also claim what is due for overdrawn accounts. However, Chase, Citibank, JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo have all agreed not to use relief payments to satisfy negative balances. Debt collectors must also have a court judgment to come after your money if they are no state laws to protect your stimulus payment.
What Comes Next
Ignore videos and posts on social media. If you want the facts, you should go straight to the source. Many people are circulating misinformation that this money will have to be repaid when you file next year’s taxes. The IRS and U.S. Treasury Department confirmed this is false. There are also plenty of scammers out there trying to take advantage as well. The IRS will never call, email, or contact anyone for your personal information, so stay alert. Keep your information private and contact the IRS directly with any questions or concerns.
Congress is currently working to draft a second relief package as the economy continues to stagnate. The terms of this deal are still uncertain as the details are being negotiated. Hopefully, we can all work together and navigate through this mire and come out stronger.
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- How to Help Family and Friends Who Are Financially Stressed
- How Does the Impact of Coronavirus Compare to Previous Economic Downturns?
Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.