Here’s everything you know about the $1,200 checks that will come from it
Who Qualifies, and How Much Do They Get?
Eligibility for the $1,200 checks from the CARES Act is based primarily on income. Here’s a quick look at how much you can make to be eligible:
If you’re single ($1,200 check):
- Have an adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $75,000.
- Higher AGI, up to $99,000, qualifies for a check smaller than $1,200.
If you’re married ($2,400 check per couple):
- Have a combined AGI of less than $150,000.
- Higher combined AGI, up to $198,000, qualifies for a check smaller than $2,400.
If you’re head of household (single parent with a child that lives with you at least half the year) ($1,200 check):
- Have an AGI of less than $112,500.
- Higher AGI, up to $136,500, qualifies for a check smaller than $1,200.
You can find your AGI by looking at the following:
- 2018 tax return – line 7 of your 1040 form.
- 2019 tax return – line 8b of your 1040 or 1040-SR form.
What Is Used to Determine Income?
Your 2018 or 2019 tax returns, whichever is complete and most recent, will be used to determine your income and eligibility. If you did not file in either year, you might have issues getting a check. If this is the case, file your 2018 return now.
If you didn’t file but received Social Security, however, the IRS can use that information to see if you qualify.
Who Doesn’t Qualify?
Here are four cases where you won’t qualify for a coronavirus stimulus check:
- You make too much money and surpass the income threshold.
- You don’t have a Social Security number.
- You’re a nonresident alien.
- You were already claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.
Do You Have to Be Unemployed to Receive a Check?
Losing your job due to COVID-19 or being unemployed does not affect your eligibility for a stimulus check, as income is the determining factor.
It can lead to even more compensation, however, as the CARES Act includes up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits of up to $600 per week. This amount is in addition to any unemployment you receive from your state, and it even includes freelancers, gig workers, and contractors.
Can You Be Retired?
As long as your income falls within the requirements, yes, you can be retired and still receive a stimulus check.
Can You Owe Back Taxes?
Yes. As long as you filed for 2018 or 2019 and fall within the income requirements, you can get a check regardless of whether or not you owe delinquent taxes.
How Will the Funds Be Paid?
Direct deposit or check are the two forms of payment, although a prepaid debit card may be used instead of checks. Information from your latest tax return will be used.
When Will Payments Be Processed?
Although Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin mentioned that payments would be coming within a few weeks, it could take months to get paid. The last time stimulus checks were processed in 2008, it took three months to receive payments.
Beware of Scams
You will not have to pay a fee to receive your check, nor provide information like your bank account number, credit card number, or Social Security number. If anyone contacts you asking for such things, it’s probably a scam.