economic impact payments

The CARES Act Economic Impact Payments: Are You Eligible?  

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was passed in late March, by Congress. This bill offers financial help to those whose livelihoods are impacted by the current COVID-19. The Act comes with a variety of provisions, but arguably the most popular and discussed component of the bill is the Economic Impact Payments (stimulus checks). 

According to the CARES Act, most Americans will receive a $1,200 check—and potentially more— either in the mail or in their checking accounts. However, while the bill is meant to help those whose livelihoods are affected by the outbreak, you do not have to prove this to receive the funds. 

While much information—accurate and inaccurate—has been floating around on various places on the internet, you may wonder if you are eligible to receive this money. 

If you are wondering whether you and your family will receive these payments, the next section outlines eligibility and additional crucial details associated with the payment process. 

Are You Eligible for the CARES Act Economic Impact Payments? 

Below, we have included all the relevant information you need to determine if you are eligible for the stimulus checks. If you have questions about these requirements, be sure to visit the U.S. Treasury Department for more information. 

Read: Latest articles about COVID-19 and The CARES Act

Mandatory Requirements

  • You have earned less than $75,000 as an individual – If your adjusted gross income is $75,000 and under—in 2018 or 2019—you will receive $1,200. 
  • You earned $112,000 as Head of Household – If you are the breadwinner in your home and earned $112,000 or less for the 2018 or 2019 tax year, you are eligible for $1,200. 
  • If you and a spouse earn less than $150,000 – If you and your spouse have filed jointly on 2018 or 2019 tax returns and have a combined adjusted gross income of $150,000 or less, you both are entitled to a one-time payment of $2,400. 
  • Having a social security number – All individuals who receive a stimulus check must have a valid social security number. So, if you are a nonresident alien or an undocumented immigrant, you would not be eligible for the $1,200. 
  • Not claimed as a dependent – If you are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, regardless of the situation (whether you are a disabled adult, an older person living with adult children, or a college student), you will not receive a stimulus check. 

Conditional Requirements

  • Having children – If you have children, you will receive $500 for each child (anyone under 16). You will not receive this payment if the child is above 17, even if they are claimed as a dependent. 

These are the mandatory and conditional eligibility requirements you need to meet to receive a stimulus check or Economic Impact Payment. However, there are a few more details that you should be mindful of:

  • The stimulus check amount diminishes based on your income – The stimulus checks decreases by five dollars for every $100 that your income is over the mandated income level. 
  • Filing a return speeds up the process – If you have filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and received a refund through direct deposit, your stimulus check will automatically be deposited once released.
  • The IRS has a website for non-filers – If you have not filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, you can either receive the stimulus check by mail or use this IRS website to enter payment information for direct deposit. 

The first checks began to go out the week of April 9th; however, funds are being distributed by income level. Therefore, if you are in a lower income bracket, you will receive your stimulus check before those who make a maximum of $75,000 and $150,000. So, keep an eye on your bank account or fill out the Non-Filers form mentioned above if you have not filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019.

For more information, be sure to check the U.S. Treasury Department website, and keep an eye on the AskTheMoneyCoach Blog for more eligibility details regarding how the CARES Act impacts your personal finance strategies


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