As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak financial havoc, causing businesses to shut down and workers to lose income, Americans have been anxiously waiting on checks from Uncle Sam.
The $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package includes a one-time payment to qualifying Americans, either by direct deposit or mailed check. Many have received their funds over the past couple of days, while others are still waiting.
If you’re expecting stimulus money and it hasn’t hit your bank account yet, it could be due to one of several reasons:
1. You don’t qualify for a payment
Though millions of people are set to receive stimulus checks, not everyone qualifies for one. The payments are awarded based on income ― if you haven’t received a check, it might be because you earn too much.
Here’s how the payments break down:
Those with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less get a stimulus payment of $1,200. That amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 earned above the $75,000 threshold and caps at $99,000.
Married couples who file taxes jointly and have an AGI of $150,000 or less get a payment of $2,400, with that amount phasing out between $150,000 and $198,000.
Those who file as head of household and have an AGI of $112,500 or less will receive a payment of $1,200, with that amount phasing out between $112,500 and $146,500.
Stimulus check recipients should also receive an additional $500 for each qualifying dependent who is 16 years old or younger.
In addition to people who have AGIs above the limits outlined above, others who are excluded from receiving payments include nonresident foreigners, taxpayers who can be claimed on someone else’s return as a dependent, and estates and trusts.
2. You haven’t filed your taxes
The IRS is relying on tax returns from 2018 and 2019 to determine eligibility for stimulus payments and where to send them. However, you don’t actually have to file taxes in order to qualify for stimulus money.
Those with low enough incomes, including the homeless, aren’t required to file taxes each year. They are still eligible to receive stimulus funds, but the IRS needs to have bank account information on file in order to deposit the money in a timely manner. Without this information, checks have to be mailed, which could take up to 20 weeks.
So if you haven’t filed taxes for 2018 or 2019, visit the IRS website and enter your information in its new non-filer tool to ensure you get a direct deposit as soon as possible.
3. You filed taxes using a major tax prep service
Even if you did recently file taxes, the IRS still may not have your banking information on file. Customers of major tax preparation services, including TurboTax, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt, have complained that they did not receive their stimulus payments as expected.
This issue affects taxpayers who received an advance on their refunds or who had tax preparation fees taken out of their refunds. In these cases, the companies actually received the refunds first; after the companies deducted the necessary fees, the rest of the funds were then distributed to customers. That means the IRS had temporary bank accounts on file for 2019 that were created by the tax preparation companies.
It’s estimated that up to 21 million people could be affected by this issue. If you think you may be one of them, visit the IRS’s Get My Payment portal to enter your correct bank account details.
4. You receive supplemental security income
When the stimulus package was first revealed, there was some confusion as to whether Supplemental Security Income recipients qualified to receive any money. The good news is that they do, and those payments are scheduled to go out no later than early May. So if you receive SSI and haven’t gotten your check yet, it should be on the way soon.
However, it’s important to note that while SSI recipients who don’t have any qualifying children will receive their $1,200 payment automatically, those who do have qualifying children under age 17 will need to visit the non-filer tool and enter their information. If you don’t do this soon, you’ll have to wait longer to get your extra $500 per child.
5. You’re part of a mixed-status family
Many taxpayers who would otherwise qualify for a stimulus payment will not receive any money because they have unauthorized immigrants in their family.
Under the CARES Act, which outlines the terms of the coronavirus stimulus package, unauthorized immigrants and most U.S. citizens or legal immigrant spouses who file taxes jointly with unauthorized immigrants or immigrants without a Social Security number are excluded from receiving aid. The only exception is for military families.
That means some U.S. citizens will not get stimulus payments if they are part of a mixed-status family that includes either unauthorized immigrants or immigrants who are going through the process of becoming legal citizens and haven’t received a Social Security number yet. However, legal permanent residents who have Social Security numbers and file taxes will qualify for stimulus money, as long as no one in the household files their taxes under an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number instead of an SSN.
How To Check The Status Of Your Stimulus Payment For 2020
If you aren’t sure whether you qualify for a stimulus check or want to know the status of your payment, you can visit the Get My Payment tool on the IRS website to find out.
You’ll need to enter your Social Security number or individual tax ID, date of birth, street address and ZIP or postal code to get your payment status. If you haven’t set up your direct deposit information yet (about 20% of taxpayers haven’t), the tool may walk you through that process.
In order to enter your banking information, you’ll need to know your AGI from your most recent tax return submitted (either 2019 or 2018), the amount of your refund or the amount owed from your latest filed tax return, and your bank account type, account number and routing number.
Keep in mind that if you already have payment information on file or the payment has already been processed, you won’t be able to change the information for security reasons. Unfortunately, that may mean that your payment was sent to the wrong bank account. In this case, you’ll need to contact the bank directly to rectify the situation.
Many people who recently attempted to check their payment status using the Get My Payment tool have also complained about receiving a “Payment Status Not Available” message. The Washington Post reached out to the IRS to find out why some people are met with this error. The reasons include, according to that report:
- You aren’t eligible for a payment.
- Your payment is based on your status as a Social Security, disability, Veterans Affairs or Railroad Retirement beneficiary. In this case, the IRS will use your SSA or RRB Form 1099 payment information. Your payment information isn’t available on the “Get My Payment” tool.
- You have not filed a 2018 or 2019 federal tax return.
- You filed your 2019 return, but it hasn’t been fully processed.
- You used the non-filers tool, but the information you entered is still being processed.
- There’s a problem verifying your identity when answering the security questions.
Some people say they received the “status not available” message even though none of the above situations apply to them. Keep in mind that the IRS is processing millions of stimulus payments per day, and information on the website is only updated once per day ― you may need to wait 24 hours for new results. According to the IRS, people who qualify for a payment will still get a check in the mail if they are unable to set up direct deposit.
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