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Stimulus Checks COVID-19: Who Is Eligible and How Much Will They Be?

Mar 27, 2020 | IRS - Internal Revenue Service, US Tax Return 1040 / 1040NR | 53 comments

Agreement reached early on Wednesday will give money to most Americans, small-business loans and help for hard-hit industries.

Senate plan would send $1,200 checks to many, including Social Security recipients

The Senate voted unanimously late Wednesday (March 26th) night to approve a $2 trillion economic stimulus package that would send most Americans checks of up to $1,200, as a way to put money directly in the pockets of families struggling to manage the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Although the law hasn’t been finalized quite yet, it sure looks like Uncle Sam is going to be sending you a check sometime soon under a bill passed by the U.S. Senate. The Trump administration and Senate leaders worked out a plan to flood the U.S. economy with cash and provide relief for Americans who are taking a financial hit. One way to do this is to send us all direct payments from the government’s coffers.

The coronavirus stimulus package, known as the CARES Act, is working its way through Congress. The legislation still needs to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the president. The plan is for individuals to get up to $1,200 and married couples to get up to $2,400, plus an additional $500 for each child. The size of a check would diminish gradually for those whose income is above $75,000, while individuals earning more than $99,000 and couples earning more than $198,000 will not be getting any checks. The checks will be based on a household or individual’s 2018 tax return unless they filed their 2019 tax return, in which case it will be based of their 2019 return

The Senate bill does not set a date for when the checks would start to go out, saying only that the Treasury secretary would send the payments “as rapidly as possible.” The money could be sent either by mail or direct deposit. However, even if you don’t get a check now, you won’t lose out on the money—you’ll just have to wait until next year to get it. The way the law is written, the checks that will be sent now are just advanced payments of a new refundable tax credit for the 2020 tax year. So, if you don’t get a stimulus payment in 2020, you can claim it next year as a refund or reduction of the tax you owe if you file a 2020 tax return by April 15, 2021.

How much will the stimulus check be?

The size of the check would decrease based on income for individuals who earned more than $75,000 based on their tax return for last year (or their 2018 return if they have not filed yet). The rebate check for individuals would shrink by $5 for every $100 earned over $75,000. For couples who filed jointly, the reduction would start once they earn more than $150,000; for heads of household, at $112,500. Individuals who earned more than $99,000 and couples who earned more than $198,000 jointly would not receive checks. The check you receive is just an advanced payment of a tax credit for the 2020 tax year. It won’t be included in your taxable income.

According to the legislation, people who do not receive Social Security benefits and also do not typically file taxes because their income is very low will need to file a 2019 tax return in order to receive a stimulus check. President Trump has said that he wants checks to be delivered within a couple of weeks. That may be a bit too ambitious, though. The law instructs the IRS to send payments “as rapidly as possible.” But remember, the IRS is short-staffed right now thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Back in 2008, when similar stimulus payments were issued, it took a couple of months for a fully-staff IRS to get checks in the mail.

One advantage the IRS has now, though, is the fact that most taxpayers have refunds directly deposited into their bank accounts now. That means the tax agency already has bank account numbers and bank routing numbers for millions of Americans. With that information in hand, the IRS can make electronic payments to a lot of people. This method of payment takes far less time than printing and mailing a paper check. The IRS will attempt to make payments electronically for anyone who authorized the direct deposit of a refund into their bank account at any point after 2017. If a direct deposit is rejected (e.g., if the bank account information is incorrect), the IRS will receive a rejection notice. At that point, the payment will be converted to a paper check and mailed to you.

Social Security recipients eligible

Some entities have worked to ensure that individuals who are collecting Social Security benefits for retirement, disability or Supplemental Security Income will be eligible for the stimulus checks, based on their tax returns or Social Security Administration data. AARP successfully fought to guarantee that low-income Social Security recipients would receive the full $1,200 check, not $600 as originally proposed.

If you are receiving Social Security benefits but didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019, you would be eligible to receive a stimulus check without a tax return based on data available to the IRS from your annual Social Security benefits statement. The government would send you a check using the information from your Form SSA-1099 Social Security Benefit Statement. You would not have to file a 2019 tax return to get a stimulus check.

For those with an IRA or a 401K

The CARES Act is also expected to waive required minimum distributions (RMDs) from retirement savings accounts for 2020, granting a reprieve for retirees age 70½ and older who might otherwise be required to sell low and take distributions just when the stock market has nosedived in recent weeks. The bill also allows people younger than 59½ to take an early distribution, up to $100,000, from a traditional IRA to pay for a coronavirus-related hardship, such as a job loss. The early distribution is penalty-free, though not necessarily tax-free. The tax bill can be avoided if the money is returned to the IRA in three years; if not, the taxes can be spread out over three years beginning in 2020. Distributions are taxed as ordinary income. With the RMD waiver, retirees who can afford to skip their 2020 distribution can now leave that money an extra year in an individual retirement account or a defined contribution employer’s savings plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), to recover without penalty. “That’s a huge relief for people who would otherwise be taxed on a value that has vanished,” says Ed Slott, founder of IRAhelp.com.

53 Comments

  1. Patricia Hanna

    Hay que hacer algo?

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      NO, no hay que hacer nada… simplemente aseguarrse de hacer la declaracion americana del 2019 lo antes posible y si no al menos haber presenatdo la del 2018.

      Reply
      • Erika Pettis

        Antonio, y si no hay apresentado el 1040 de 2018 solo los Fbars y tampoco la declaracion de 2019, el governo americano no pagara los cheques de estimulo?

        Reply
        • Antonio Rodriguez

          Erika, ¡Si claro!, en tu caso simplemente presenta las declaraciones y te tocará esperar.

          Reply
    • Howard Stoler

      I am a US expat living in Spain on Mallorca. My wife is Spanish, no green card and no US links. We file a joint return every year and I received $2,400 in my Stateside credit union on 14 April.

      I did not need to take any action, payment was automatic. My experience is provided as a reference only. If you do not have a US bank account, you will receive a check from the US Treasury.

      My previous experience with the check was finding a Spanish bank willing to accept it and I finally opened an account with SDFCU thanks to my membership with ACÁ.

      Reply
      • Howard Stoler

        Further clarification on my prior comments. I have not yet filed our 2019 US Tax return but I received the stimulus payment because we did file in 2018 and previous years. If your world wide income is over a certain amount (Antonio knows the amount), you must file a 1040, even if you do not owe any tax.

        Note the US Social Security payment rules are not the same as the IRS. I have never been able to understand why the US Govt. can send me a monthly transfer to my Spanish bank while the IRS will only order transfer payment to banks in the US.

        Reply
        • Antonio Rodriguez

          Thanks Howard. Th IRS also reported that all US citizens receiving Social Security Benefits will receive the “Stimulus check” even if they do not need to file a Tax return and they haven’t file their taxes in 2018 and 2019.

          Reply
      • Mario

        I have never filed or paid taxes, am I elegible for stimulus? I live abroad but I have a bank account in the IS

        Reply
        • Antonio Rodriguez

          Are you an US Person? (=US Citizens, GreenCard Holder or residen allien). In that case you probably are an elegible person and you could claim two checkm with the US Tax return 2020. Please call our office for more information

          Reply
    • Eva Millan

      I am a retired person and was sent a 750.00 debt card. why

      Reply
      • Antonio Rodriguez

        It is one of the options instead of the check

        Reply
  2. Randall Dean Ruzicka

    Hi Antonio,
    I hope your doing fine and staying safe.
    Am I entitled to this check? As you know I didn’t file the last 2 years.
    I have been laid off from my work as of the 2nd January.

    Thanks for your info.

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Randy,

      You should be eligible, but you need to file 2018 and 2019… as soon as possible!

      Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Randal, please check today’s post because you might be one of those nonfilers that can benefit from the “Stimulus check” even if they did not file 2018 and 2019.

      Reply
      • Randall Dean Ruzicka

        Hi Antonio,
        I still haven’t received or heard anything from the IRS concerning my relief check, I have tried several times on there web to reach out to them, but no response from them.
        Any ideas on what more can I do to see if they are going to send me a check. Thanks
        They are talking about another relief check, I think I am entitled and I don’t no why they are not sending me anything. I don’t want to lose out on this relief because I need it as well.
        I hope you can help me out with this.
        Many thanks, Randy

        Reply
  3. Tony Green

    Hello Antonio,

    How would this apply to me? Even though I am here in Spain, am I eligible? If so, what would I have to do to participate?

    I look forward to your response.

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Tony,
      As far as we know up to now, expats are also eligible… you have to be sure that you have filed 2018 and 2019 as soon as possible…

      Reply
  4. Opdyke, Barbara Lynne

    ¿Es un pago único o afecta a meses sucesivos mientras dure el corona virus?
    ¿Como podemos hacer el mod 1040 americano si todavía no hemos hecho el español de 2019?
    ¿Me afectará a mí? ¿Y a mis hijas?

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Barbara,
      La ley dice que se enviará el cheque basandose en la declaración de impuestos (Form 1040) del 2019, pero como son conscientes de que este año no se va a presentar antes del 15 de abril, porque ya han extendido la fecha tope de pago y presentación del 1040 hasta el 15 de julio, lo que mirarán es la declaración del 2018, por lo tanto todo el que la haya presntado recibirá el cheque. Es un pago único y no hay que hacer nada.

      Reply
  5. Jose Manuel

    Thank you Antonio for the updating. Good iniciative on this situation.
    I filled up 2018 and will 2019 after the spanish IRPF as usual.

    I am resident in Spain . You think I am elegible and we could do the process??

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Of course you are eligible!!! as long as you have an SSN and filed Form 1040 in 2018.

      Reply
  6. Zeke

    Hello Antonio,

    I was laid off but have one week of payment left and my vacation time, so I haven’t applied for unemployment yet, do I need to apply for unemployment to be eligible for the stimulus check? Also, If I am eligible and got my tax return check mailed to my CPAs office, would it be mailed to the same place or to my home address? Thank you for answering questions!

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      The stimulus check has nothing to do with your working situation. You are eligible as long as you have a SSN and you filed the 104 last year 2018. it is my understanding that the stimulus check will be an advance payment of a refund over the 2020 tax return, so I guess that we all have to file the Form 1040 for 2020.

      Reply
  7. Edward

    What about teenagers 17+ years old. Are they eligible?

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Same answer as previous questions: the only conditions to be eligible are to have a valid SSN and at least have filed form 1040 2018

      Reply
  8. Paul Veronese

    Por lo que leo no tenemos que hacer nada. es un cheque automático, ¿verdad? el problema de la declaración americana del 2019 es que tenemos antes que esperar los datos de Hacienda y presentar la declaración en España.

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      !Correcto¡, por eso se establece que sin no has presentado la declaracion del 2019, te pagarán el cheque en base a la declaración del 2018. No hay que hacer nada… será automatico. El que haya recibido un “refund” con”direct deposit” en su cuenta corriente en el 2019 o 2018, el IRS le depositará el dinero directamente en la cuenta… y el que no haya recibido un “direct deposit” recibirá un cheque del Tesoro.

      Reply
  9. Howard Stoler

    Many thanks for spreading the word. Stay happy and well, Howard

    Reply
  10. Brian Hedderick

    I am retired and receive my social security pension. I have not filed for taxes but I do have my 1099 from social security and my income was less then $13,000. I am also in Spain but I get my check every month via direct deposit to my Spanish account. Will I still get a check?

    Reply
  11. Christy

    Hi Antonio,
    What is the declaración americana? Taxes? I haven’t heard that term before. Also, if you know yet, would the stimulus money get to an expat through the tax system?
    Thank you, and hope you are all well and staying safe.

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Christy, “Declaración americana” means to send the IRS the Form 1040, as you should do it every years if you are considered a U.S. person (=U.S. citizens, Green Card Holders and Resident Aliens). To get the stimulus check you would be eligible if you have filed 2018 Individual Tax Return (Form 1040)

      Reply
  12. Spyros Root

    Hola Antonio. This is a good way of being in touch. You say that all that is needed is to have a valid SSN and to have filed 1040 for 2018&19 ( my 2018 is in, you are doing my 2019). But they would need a bank account number too, no?We have to send that to you?? Or will they be mailing it? I am glad you are well: keep it up!!

    Reply
  13. Monica Perez

    Hola Antonio, muchísimas gracias por compartir esta información. Nosotros aún no hemos entregado los taxes de 2019, y en los del 2018 utilizamos una dirección postal de EEUU que ya no tenemos acceso a ella. Sabes si lo que van a hacer es mandar un cheque fisico a la direccion? Imagino que necesitarán algún tipo de confirmación antes de enviar el cheque. Gracias de antemano por tu tiempo.

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Seguramente lo más sensato es enviar un cambio de direccion (Form 8822) o presentar la declaracion del 2019 lo antes posible.

      Reply
  14. Name *EILEEN

    BUENOS DIAS Y MUCHAS GRACIAS POR EL CHAT.

    Creo que tenemos claro casi todo pero en nuestro caso nos quedan dos dudas.

    Al ser yo americana y mi marido español, serian 1200$ o 2400$?

    Mi hija va a presentar por primera vez este año(ya te hemos enviado la documentación para presentarla ya) entiendo que se basaran en los datos de 2019 para la ayuda, no?

    Y por ultimo , nunca nos han devuelto dinero el IRS con lo cual no tienen nuestra cuenta en España, podríamos facilitartela para que fuera pago directo y no cheque?

    Gracias y cuidate.

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      La primera condición para recibir el Stimulus Check es tener un SSN válido, cosa que supongo tu marido no cumple. Correcto, se van a basar en los datos del 2019 para la ayuda y en su defecto harán los cálculos con la declaración del 2018. El Direct Deposit sólo funciona con cuentas en Estados Unidos. Nosotros todavía no tenemos informacion oficial de como y cuando exactamente se va a hacer el reparto, pero si es cierto, que los bancos estadounidenses están poniendo muchos problemas para pagar los 100 millones de cheques que se estima va a enviar el IRS.

      Reply
  15. Shirley Moses

    Hi I get disability benefit 750.00 a month and I also have a child 16 yrs old . Do I need to file a tax form to get my check and what do I need to do to get the 500 for my child ?

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Shirley, if you regularly file your taxes and you did in 2018 and you will in 2019, you do not need to do anything… please check today’s post in this blog if you are a non-filer.

      Reply
  16. Robert Covington

    Last year I made 50000 on job, 12000 social security and won 100000 lottery. Am I eligible even though about 30000 was paid in taxes and still owe a little change.

    Reply
  17. Antonio Rodriguez

    Please check again the post, because it all depends on your filing status and your 2018 and 2019 return filed.

    Reply
  18. Margaret Olorunda

    Received my SS card in December 2019 am I eligible to get stimulus package

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Margaret, Yes, you will… Do you file taxes in the US? Have you filed either 2018 or 2019?

      Reply
  19. MARINA

    HI ANTONIO…MY HUSBAND AND I LIVE IN CROATIA AND ARE RETIRED. WE HAVE NOT FILED ANY TAXES IN THE PAST 8-10 YEARS AS WE WERE TOLD WE DID NOT HAVE TO BASED ON THE FACT THAT TOGETHER WE MAKE $1,597.00 PER MONTH…I GET $1,007.00 AND HE GETS AROUND $597.00 …HIS MONEY IS DEPOSITED MONTHLY IN OUR US BANK ACCOUNT AND MINE IS DIRECT DEPOSITED HERE IN CROATIA…ALSO WE RECEIVE A STATEMENT OF EARNINGS EVERY END OF THE YEAR FROM S.S.
    WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANY MONEY FROM THE STIMULUS YET AND ARE WONDERING IF WE WILL BEING THE S.S. GOV. HAS OUR BANK INFO?
    PLS LET US KNOW IF WE QUALIFY AND IF THERE IS ANYTHING WE SHOULD DO?
    THANK YOU SO MUCH AND GOD BLESS!

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Marina,
      For sure, if you have a valid SSN you qualify for the Stimulus check. If you are nonfilers you should file your info through the IRS website “get-my-payment” and the IRS will send you the check. Please keep in mind that the filing requirements for 2019 for Married Filing Jointly under 65 years old is $24,400 and older is $25,700, so either case you qualify as nonfilers!.
      Antonio

      Reply
  20. arantza

    Buenos días, Muchas gracias por todos los comentarios. Hoy he recibido el pago, pero yo no había solicitado nada. Veo en los comentarios que es automatic. Ahora bien lo que no entiendo es como afecta esto a la declaración o si hay forma de devolver el dinero pues mi idea es cerrar las cuentas que me quedan en usa este año y con eso cerrar mi etapa vivida allí. ¿que es lo mejor que puedo hacer?

    Reply
  21. Sarah Wynn

    Where do I go to file to get a stimulus check I never got the first one

    Reply
  22. Mario

    Vivo en el exterior, nunca he declarado o pagado impuestos debido a que mis ingresos son en otro país. Hay alguna forma de acceder al stimulus? Tengo cuenta bancaria en los Estados Unidos y SSN.

    Reply
    • Antonio Rodriguez

      Are you an US Person? (=US Citizens, GreenCard Holder or residen allien). In that case you probably are an elegible person and you could claim two checkm with the US Tax return 2020. Please call our office for more information

      Reply

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