Stimulus Package: Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Who is eligible for the Economic Impact Payment (EIP)?
A: You are eligible if you: 

-Are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or qualifying resident alien;
-Cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return;
-Have a Social Security number (SSN) that is valid for employment (valid SSN); and
*Exception: If either spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the taxable year, then only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN
-Have adjusted gross income below an amount based on your filing status and the number of your qualifying children.

Q: How large would payments be?
A: Most adults would get $1,200, although some would get less. For every qualifying child age 16 or under, the payment would be an additional $500.

Q: How many payments will there be?
A: Just one. Future bills could order up additional payments, though.

Q: How do I know if I will get the full amount?
A: It depends on your income. Single adults with Social Security numbers who have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less would get the full amount. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less would receive a total of $2,400. And taxpayers filing as head of household would get the full payment if they earned $112,500 or less.
Above those income figures, the payment decreases until it stops altogether for single people earning $99,000 or married people who have no children and earn $198,000. According to the Senate Finance Committee, a family with two children would no longer be eligible for any payments if its income surpassed $218,000.
You cannot get a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult. In any given family and in most instances, everyone must have a valid Social Security number in order to be eligible. There is an exception for members of the military. You can find your adjusted gross income on Line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax return.

Q: Do college students get anything?
A: Not if anyone claims them as a dependent on a tax return. Usually, students under age 24 may be considered dependents in the eyes of taxing authorities if a parent pays for at least half of the student’s expenses.

Q: Do I qualify if I have an ITIN or do not have a Social Security Number? 
A: Unfortunately, ITIN holders and those without a Social Security Number are not eligible for the stimulus payment. 

Q: What year’s income should I be looking at?
A: 2019. If you haven’t prepared a tax return yet, you can use your 2018 return. If you haven’t filed that yet, you can use 2018 IRS transcript showing your income to see what an employer reported to the IRS. You can file simple returns from home for free at

Q: Do I receive the payment if I do not make enough money to normally have to file an income tax return?
A: Yes. Eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), survivors benefits, Railroad Retirement, or veterans benefits, as well as individuals who do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return, are also eligible for the EIP. This includes those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from federal benefit programs, such as supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. No minimum income is needed for the Payment.
To claim your payment, use the IRS’s Non-Filer Information tool here:

Q: What if my recent income made me ineligible, but I anticipate being eligible because of a loss of income in 2020? Do I get a payment?
A: The bill does not help people in that circumstance now, but you may benefit once you file your 2020 taxes. That’s because the payment is technically an advance on a tax credit that is available for the entire year. So it will depend on how much you earn.
Meanwhile, there are many other provisions in the legislation. You may be able to file for unemployment or for one of the new loans for small-business owners or sole proprietors.

Q: Would I have to apply to receive the payment?
A: Not if you already have a 2019 or 2018 tax return on file with the IRS. If the Internal Revenue Service already has your bank account information, it would transfer the money to you via direct deposit based on the recent income-tax figures it already has.
If you do not typically file, you can claim your payment using the IRS’s Non-Filer Information tool here:

Q: The IRS does not have my direct deposit information. What can I do?
A: Your bank account information for your economic impact payment is usually captured from:
•    the most recently filed tax return if you received a refund by direct deposit in 2018 or 2019, or
•    the bank information you provided on our Get My Payment application, or
•    the bank information you provided on the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool.

If Get My Payment indicates your payment is pending or has been processed, you cannot change your bank account information. 

To help protect against potential fraud, the tool also does not allow people to change direct deposit bank account information already on file with the IRS. 
If you plan to file in order to receive your EIP and do not currently have a checking account to use for direct deposit, you may consider signing up for an affordable checking account here:

Q: When would the payment arrive?
A: Payments have already begun to be disbursed. To check on the status of your EIP use the IRS’s Get My Payment tool here:

Q: If my payment does not come soon, how can I be sure it wasn’t misdirected?
A: According to the bill, you would get a paper notice in the mail no later than a few weeks after your payment had been disbursed. That notice would contain information about where the payment ended up and in what form it was made. If you could not locate the payment at that point, it would be time to contact the IRS using the information on the notice.

You can check on the status of your EIP with the IRS’s Get My Payment tool:

Q: What if I haven’t filed tax returns recently? Would that affect my ability to receive payment?
A: It could. File a return immediately, at least for 2018, according to the I.R.S. website. “Those without 2018 tax filings on record could potentially affect mailings of stimulus checks,” the site says. If you’re worried about money that you owe that you cannot pay, the I.R.S. recommends consulting a tax professional who can help you request an alternative payment plan or some other resolution. You can file simple returns from home at for free.

If you do not make enough to meet the filing requirement and typically do not file, you may qualify for a refund and should prepare your taxes anyway. Credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Young Child Tax Credit are for very low earners that are not required to file. This can mean even more money in your pockets. 

Individuals that do not have a filing requirement and do not receive benefits like SSA, VA, or SSI need to file a claim on to receive their Economic Impact Payment.

Q: How long are the economic impact payments available?
A: The Economic Impact Payment will be accessible until December 31st, 2020. 

Q: What if I receive benefits like SSA, VA, or SSI and have not filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return? Am I eligible for the Economic Impact Payment?
A: Most eligible U.S. taxpayers will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments including:

•    Individuals who filed a federal income tax for 2018 or 2019
•    Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), survivor benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
•    Recipients of Veterans Affairs benefits
•    Individuals who receive Railroad Retirement benefits

If you receive these benefits but have qualifying children under 17, use the non-filer tool at by noon Wednesday, April 22, 2020 to have $500 per eligible child added to your Payment. 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who don’t file tax returns will start receiving their automatic Economic Impact Payments directly from the Treasury Department in early May. People receiving SSI benefits who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes, and have qualifying children under age 17, however, should not wait for their automatic $1,200 individual payment. They should immediately go to the IRS’s webpage at and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Your Information section to provide their information. SSI recipients who have dependent children and did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes need to act by Tuesday, May 5, in order to receive additional payments for their eligible children quickly.

Q: Would eligible unemployed people get these stimulus payments? Veterans?
A: Yes and yes. 

Q: Do U.S. citizens living abroad receive a payment?
A: Yes, as long as they meet the income requirements and have a Social Security number.

Q: Do I have to pay income taxes on the amount of my payment?
A: No.

Q: If my income tax refunds are currently being garnished because of a student loan default, would this payment be garnished as well?
A: No. In fact, the bill temporarily suspends nearly all efforts to garnish tax refunds to repay debts, including those to the I.R.S. itself. But this waiver may not apply to people who are behind on child support.

Q: How do I protect myself against scammers that claim they are the IRS?
A: There will likely be an increase in scam calls and emails related to the stimulus payment. The IRS will NEVER call you to request your bank information, personal identification details, your SSN, or requesting payment. Never give your personal information over the phone to someone claiming to be a tax authority.

Q: Where can I get more information?
A: The IRS will post all key information on as soon as it becomes available. You can also check our site and follow us on social media @FreeTaxPrepLA for updates. 

Q: How do I know if a debit card I get in the mail is actually from the IRS?
A: If the Get My Payment tool on the IRS website says your Economic Impact Payment will be issued as a check, you may instead get a debit card in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services." If you haven’t activated your card, you’ll get a follow-up letter. For more information, see Prepaid Debit Cards.


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