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What should I know about Covid-19 stimulus payments?

Authored By: GeorgiaLegalAid.org

Stimulus or Economic Impact Payments (EIP) from the IRS

Contents


File your taxes by May 17, 2021 to get your payments

Even if you don’t normally file taxes, you should file your 2020 tax return to make sure you get all of the stimulus money you are owed. It will also help you get future payments.

 

The filing deadline is May 17, 2021.

 

  • If you don’t usually file taxes because you don’t have earnings from work or you get disability benefits, you might not have gotten all of the money you and your family are owed. You can get your stimulus payments by filing taxes now.
  • The rules about who can get stimulus payments keep changing. Even if you did not qualify for a stimulus payment before, you might qualify for one now. You should file taxes to see if you are owed money, and to make it easier to get money in the future.
  • If you lost your job or your income dropped in 2020, you should file taxes so the IRS has your recent income information. You might qualify for more money based on your lower income.
  • If you have children living with you as of 2020, you may be eligible for another payment later in 2021. You can qualify for this money by filing your 2020 taxes.

 

For help filing your taxes:


How to get your third stimulus payment (from March 2021 Covid relief bill)

As part of the Covid-19 Relief bill signed into law on March 11, 2021,  some taxpayers will get a payment from the federal government.

 

Who is eligible?

Payments are based on your 2019 income (or your 2020 income if you’ve already filed your 2020 tax return).

  • People who made under $75,000/year, heads of households who made up to $112,500/year, or married couples who made up to $150,000 will get the full payment. 

    • The full payment is $1,400 for an individual and $2,800 for married couples. 

      • People with dependents (usually children) will get $1,400 for each dependent. This includes adult dependents such as college students or other qualifying family members. 

    • People who made between $80,000/year ($120,000 for head of household, $174,000 for a married couple) and $75,000 ($112,500 for head of household, $150,000 for a married couple) will get a partial payment.

    • Note: if you qualify for a payment based on your 2020 income but don’t receive a check because the government used the income from your 2019 tax return, you can claim a credit on your 2021 tax return. 

 

Who is not eligible?

  • People who made over  $80,000/year ($120,000 for head of household, $174,000 for a married couple) will not get a payment. 

  • If someone else claimed you as a dependent on their taxes (like college students), you will not get a payment. However, for this round of stimulus payments, a payment will go to the person who claimed you as a dependent.

 

How will the money arrive?

If you are eligible for the payment, and the IRS has your information on file, your money will come in one of three ways:

  • Direct deposit to your bank account. This will happen if the IRS has your bank account and routing number. 

  • By check.

  • By a new EIP Prepaid Debit Card. You will get a new EIP card for this payment.  These cards are not a scam. Read the NCLC's fact sheet about the EIP Prepaid Cards to learn what these cards look like and how to cash or use the card without fees.

    • Look for an envelope that has the return address of Money Network Cardholder Services, PO Box 247022, Omaha, NE 68124

    • If you got a card but threw it away, call 800-240-8100. Replacement cards are free.

 

What do I need to do to get the money?

These payments are being issued based on information the IRS already has on file.

  • If the IRS has your information on file, you do not have to do anything to get your third payment. 

  • If the IRS does not have your information on file, you can get it by filing a 2020 tax return. You will need to file a tax return even if you do not normally file one if you want to get this payment.

 

The IRS has your information if:

  • You filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return,

  • You entered information using the Non-Filers tool on the IRS website in order to get your first payment,

  • You get Social Security retirement, SSDI, SSI , VA or Railroad Retirement benefits.

 

The IRS may not have your information if:

  • You did not enter information using the IRS's Non-filers tool by November 21, 2020 or file a simplified tax return AND you

    • Did not file a 2019 or 2020 federal income tax return because your income was under $12,200 (or $24,000 for married couples).

    • Were not required to file a 2019 or 2020 federal income tax for other reasons, or 

    • Get Social Security retirement, SSDI, SSI , VA or Railroad Retirement benefits and you have a child under 17. Although the IRS will have your information, they will not have information about your dependents.


How to get your second stimulus payment (from December 2020 Covid relief bill)

 

As part of the Covid-19 Relief bill signed into law on December 30, 2020, some taxpayers will get a payment from the federal government.

 

Who is eligible?

  • People who made under $75,000/year ($150,000 for a married couple) will get the full payment. 

    • The full payment is $600 for an individual and $1,200 for married couples. 

      • Parents will get $600 for each child under 17 that they claim as a dependent. 

  • People who made between $87,000/year ($174,000 for a married couple) and $75,000 ($150,000 for a married couple) will get a partial payment.

 

Who is not eligible?

  • People who made over $87,000/year ($174,000 for married couples) will not get a payment. 

  • If someone else claimed you as a dependent on their taxes (like college students), you cannot get a payment.

 

How will the money arrive?

If you are eligible for the payment, and the IRS has your information on file, your money will come in one of three ways:

  • Direct deposit to your bank account. This will happen if the IRS has your bank account and routing number. 
  • By check.
  • By EIP Prepaid Debit Card. These cards are not a scam. Read the NCLC's fact sheet about the EIP Prepaid Cards to learn what these cards look like and how to cash or use the card without fees.
    • Look for an envelope that has the return address of Money Network Cardholder Services, PO Box 247022, Omaha, NE 68124
    • If you got a card but threw it away, call 800-240-8100. Replacement cards are free.

 

What do I need to do to get the money?

These payments are being issued based on information the IRS already has on file.

  • If the IRS has your information on file, you do not have to do anything to get your second payment. 
  • If the IRS does not have your information on file, you can get it by filing a 2020 tax return and claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit. You will need to file a tax return even if you do not normally file one if you want to get this payment.

 

The IRS has your information if:

  • You filed a 2019 tax return,
  • You entered information using the Non-Filers tool on the IRS website in order to get your first payment,
  • You get Social Security retirement, SSDI, SSI , VA or Railroad Retirement benefits.

 

The IRS may not have your information if:

  • You did not enter information using the IRS's Non-filers tool by November 21, 2020 or file a simplified tax return AND you
    • Did not file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return because your income was under $12,200 (or $24,000 for married couples).

    • Were not required to file a 2019 or 2019 federal income tax for other reasons, or 

    • Get Social Security retirement, SSDI, SSI , VA or Railroad Retirement benefits and you have a child under 17. Although the IRS will have your information, they will not have information about your dependents. 

 


How to get your first stimulus payment (from March 2020 Covid relief bill)

As part of the CARES Act, some taxpayers will get a payment from the federal government. This money is called an “economic impact payment.”

 

Who is eligible?

  • People who made under $75,000/year ($150,000 for a married couple) will get the full payment. 

    • The full payment is $1200 for an individual and $2,400 for married couples. 

      • Parents will get $500 for each child they claim as a dependent. 

  • People who made under $99,000/year ($198,000 for a married couple) will get a partial payment.

 

Who is not eligible?

  • People who made over $99,000/year ($198,000 for married couples) will not get a payment. 

  • If someone else claimed you as a dependent on their taxes (like college students), you cannot get a payment.

 

How can I get the money?

If you filed your 2019 or 2018 income taxes, you probably do not have to do anything to get your payment. The IRS announced on March 30, 2020 that payments would begin in the next 3 weeks. 

  • If you had your federal tax return direct deposited, your payment will also be made by direct deposit to that same bank account.

  • If you the IRS does not have your direct deposit information:

 

If you get Social Security, Railroad Retirement, VA, SSDI or SSI benefits, you do not have to do anything to get your payment. Your money will be directly deposited.

  • However, if you have a child under 17, you will need to go to the IRS website and provide information about your dependents in order to get the extra $500 for each child. YOU MUST DO THIS BY NOVEMBER 21, 2020.

 

If you did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and do not get Social Security, Railroad Retirement, VA, SSDI or SSI benefits, you will have to file a tax return to get an economic impact payment. 

 

If I need to file a simple tax return or enter information about my dependents, where do I go?

You need to provide the IRS with your payment information in order to get your stimulus money if you:

  • Did not file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return because your income was under $12,200 (or $24,000 for married couples).

  • Were not required to file a 2019 or 2019 federal income tax for other reasons, or 

  • Get Social Security retirement, SSDI, SSI , VA or Railroad Retirement benefits and you have a child under 17, you will need to provide additional information to the IRS to get the stimulus money for your dependents. YOU MUST DO THIS BY NOVEMBER 21, 2020.

 

Information You will Need to Provide

  • Full name, current mailing address and an email address

  • Date of birth and valid Social Security number

  • Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one

  • Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one

  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one

  • For each qualifying child: name, Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse

 

What to Expect

Go to the IRS website and click “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” This will take you from the IRS site to Free File Fillable Forms, a certified IRS partner. This site is safe and secure.

 

Follow these steps in order to provide your information:

  • Create an account by providing your email address and phone number; and establishing a user ID and password.

  • You will be directed to a screen where you will input your filing status (Single or Married filing jointly) and personal information.

  • Note: Make sure you have a valid Social Security number for you (and your spouse if you were married at the end of 2019) unless you are filing “Married Filing Jointly” with a 2019 member of the military. Make sure you have a valid Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number for each dependent you want to claim for the Economic Impact Payment.

  • Check the “box” if someone can claim you as a dependent or your spouse as a dependent.

  • Complete your bank information (otherwise we will send you a check).

  • You will be directed to another screen where you will enter personal information to verify yourself. Simply follow the instructions. You will need your driver’s license (or state-issued ID) information. If you don’t have one, leave it blank.

 

You will receive an e-mail from Customer Service at Free File Fillable Forms that either acknowledges you have successfully submitted your information, or that tells you there is a problem and how to correct it. Free File Fillable forms will use the information to automatically complete a Form 1040 and transmit it to the IRS to compute and send you a payment.

 

Can this money be garnished?

Possibly. If there is a legal judgment against you or a garnishment order on your bank account, you may want to get your payment as a check rather than a direct deposit. But, getting your money in check form will most likely delay your payment. 

 

Can I get unemployment if I get an economic impact payment?

Yes. You can do both. The economic impact payment is separate from unemployment benefits. If your work is affected by Covid-19, you should apply for unemployment.

Last Review and Update: Mar 17, 2021