KPRC consumer expert Amy Davis answers 8 of your most burning questions about the stimulus package and how much money you may get

Coronavirus relief money: How much you could receive and how the government will get it to you

HOUSTON – Congress passed the economic relief plan that will give more than 90% of Americans a one-time payment to help families during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve got answers to your questions about the process and timeline.

Q: Who will get a stimulus check?

A: Basically anyone who files a tax return either last year (for your 2018 taxes) or this year (for your 2019 taxes) and makes less than $99,000 with no dependent children under 17-years-old. If a married couple filing jointly has no dependent children and makes $198,000 or more a year, they are not eligible. Everyone else will get a check for some amount. You must have a social security number to get a stimulus check.

Q: How much will I get?

A: That depends on your income on your last tax return.

  • If you made $75,000 or less, you will receive $1200. If you have children, you will receive $500 for each dependent child under 17-years-old.
  • If you made more than $75,000, you will receive less as your income gets closer to $99,000 at which point you are not eligible for the stimulus check.
  • If you filed jointly with your spouse, you will receive the full amount of $2400 if your combined income was $150,000 or less, plus $500 for each dependent child under the age of 17-years-old. If you made more than $150,000, you will receive less as your income gets closer to $198,000, at which point you are not eligible for the stimulus check.

Q: What if I did not have to file a tax return because I am on social security or didn’t make enough money to need to file?

A: The U.S. Treasury Secretary says social security recipients will get stimulus checks. The IRS will use tax documents they already have on file. If the recipient’s bank account information is on file, they money will be deposited directly into their account. Otherwise, the stimulus check will be mailed.

Q: When will I get my check?

A: The first people will likely see payments in about 3 weeks. Those who filed taxes electronically and provided bank account information so their tax refund checks can be direct deposited will get their stimulus checks first the same way. If you mailed your taxes in and the IRS does not have your bank information on file from your last filing, you will receive a paper check through the mail. It will take longer for the IRS to process these payments.

Q: Will I have to pay back this money?

A: No.

Q: Will the money I receive count as taxable income next year and will I have to claim it?

A: No and no.

Q: What if I made more money in 2018 than I will get in 2019 because I was laid off? I haven’t filed my 2019 taxes yet, but my stimulus check will be smaller than what it should be.

A: The amount you receive will be based on the income you reported in your most recent tax return filed (last year or this year). If your income was more in 2019 than it was in 2018, you wil not have to give back the extra amount you received on your stimulus check. If you made less in 2019 than you did in 2018, the final amount of the benefits will be determined based on 2020 income and settled on the 2020 tax return. According to The Wall Street Journal, “people who ultimately qualify for more money than they receive this year—a person whose income drops from $100,000 to $70,000, for example—would get the rest through a larger tax refund or smaller tax payment in early 2021.”

Q: What if I had a baby in 2020? Will I get the extra $500 for my child?

A: You won’t get that money now. If you qualify based on your 2020 income, you will get $500 added to your tax refund or subtracted from your income-tax bill when you file your 2020 tax returns in early 2021.

The IRS will provide updated information about the process here when it is available. Don’t call yet. They are still working on getting all of this information compiled.

About the Author:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.