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13 of your stimulus payment questions answered

How to make sure you get your government stimulus check
How to make sure you get your government stimulus check

HOUSTON – The IRS has already sent close to 90 million stimulus payments out since mid-April, but we know many of you haven’t received one and you want to know why. Here are some of the most common questions you are asking us along with answers to help you plan.

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. All social security recipients veterans and retired railroad employees will also receive stimulus payments. If you made too small of an income to have to file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, you should register here.

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 $1,200. 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 $2,400 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: When will people on Social Security disability get their stimulus money. I was told April 29th. But I still have not received mine yet.

A:

  • Social Security, survivor and disability non-filers will see economic impact payments in their bank accounts by April 29, according to a Treasury spokeswoman.
  • SSI non-filers should begin seeing payments in early May.
  • Veterans benefit recipients should also begin receiving their stimulus payments by early May, a Treasury spokeswoman said.

You do not have to do anything to get your $1,200 stimulus payment, but if you collect SSDI and you have a dependent child 16-years-old or younger, you had until noon on April 22 to file this information at the IRS’ non-filers site.

If you missed the deadline, the IRS will send your $1,200 (or less) check now, without the $500, and you will have to wait until 2021 to claim the extra $500 on your 2020 tax return. Members of Congress, however, are urging the IRS to come up with a plan to allow SSDI recipients who missed the deadline to request for the $500 this year.)

If you are an SSI or VA beneficiary and you didn’t file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and have dependent children, you must register with the IRS by noon Eastern Time on May 5 to get an additional $500 economic impact payment for dependents - or else you’ll have to wait until you file your 2020 tax return to get the money.

Q: The IRS sent my stimulus payment to an old bank account that is now closed. What happens now?

A: If the account is closed or no longer active, the bank will reject the deposit and you will be issued a check that will be mailed to the address we have on file for you. This is generally the address on your most recent tax return or as updated through the United States Postal Service (USPS). You do not need to call the IRS to change your payment method or update your address at this time.

As required by law and for security reasons, a letter about the Payment will be mailed to each recipient’s last known address within 15 days after the payment is made. The letter will provide information on how the Payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the Payment.

Q: If my son is over 18 and I claimed him as a dependent, will he get a stimulus payment, or will I?

A: Anyone over the age of 17 years old who is claimed by someone else as a dependent will not receive a stimulus payment. The person claiming that individual will also not get the extra $500 because those extra payments are only for dependents under 16 years old.

Q: My daughter is getting a message that she doesn’t qualify. What does that mean?

A: There are a number of reasons she may be getting that message.

  • She's not eligible for a payment.
  • Her payment is based on her status as a Social Security, disability, Veterans Affairs, or Railroad Retirement beneficiary. In this case, the IRS will use her SSA or RRB Form 1099 payment information. This payment information isn’t available on the Get My Payment tool.
  • She has not filed a 2018 or 2019 federal tax return.
  • She filed her 2019 return, but it hasn’t been fully processed.
  • She used the non-filers tool, but the information you entered is still being processed.
  • There’s a problem verifying her identity when answering the security questions.

If she doesn’t fall into any of these categories, keep checking “Get My Payment.” The IRS updates the site every night.

Q: I keep getting an error message on the “Get my Payment” site. I know I am eligible. What do I do?

A: It sounds silly, but these hacks have worked for some people.

  • Enter your address in ALL CAPS.
  • Enter your information exactly as it is on your 2018 or 2019 tax return
  • Try entering your address into the USPS site and copy that directly into the address field in the IRS portal
  • Try entering your social security number with dashes in between like 123-45-6789
  • Try using a different browser
  • Try spelling out street instead of just using st

Q: My husband has an ITIN number. Our daughter has a social security number. Will he still get a stimulus payment?

A: No. You must have a social security number to receive a payment. Children do not receive stimulus payments, only their parents.

When spouses file jointly, both spouses must have valid SSNs to receive a Payment with one exception. If either spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the taxable year, only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN.

If spouses file separately, the spouse who has an SSN may qualify for a Payment; the other spouse without a valid SSN will not qualify.

Q: I was told if you sent in paper tax return this year then they are on hold temporarily until they get more workers in. Is this true?

A: The IRS has this alert posted on its website: “Due to staffing issues, processing paper tax returns could take several weeks longer. Taxpayers and tax professionals are encouraged to file electronically.” It says paper returns usually take 6 to 8 weeks to process. Returns filed electronically take 3 weeks or less.

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 will 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.