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Are You Eligible for the $1,200 COVID-19 Economic Impact Payment?

During this unprecedented time, there are a lot of changes at the federal and state levels to help people manage their finances, work, and insurance.  We will be sharing a series of blogs with details about these programs, as more information is released, including federal regulations.

Please note that this information is changing frequently, so please make sure to get the latest information directly from these resources.

This blog focuses on the latest news related to the cash payments being provided by the federal government under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), as a result of the economic challenges posed by the coronavirus.

Who Qualifies?

  • Cash assistance (“economic impact payment”) is available to all U.S. residents who have a Social Security number:
    • $1,200 for individual adults (with adjusted gross income up to $75,000)
    • $2,400 for couples (with income up to $150,000)
    • $500 for each qualifying child age 16 or under
    • Payments for adults with adjusted gross income levels above those amounts are reduced, and eventually phase out at $99,000 for individuals; head-of-household filers with one child at $146,500; and $198,000 for couples without children
  • This calculator can help you figure out your payment.
  • You can’t get a payment if someone claims you as a dependent on their taxes, even if you are an adult.
  • You can find your adjusted gross income on Line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax return.
  • If you haven’t filed taxes for 2019, you can use your 2018 return. If you haven’t filed that, you can use a 2019 Social Security statement showing your income to see what your employer reported to the IRS.
  • Note: you do not have to pay income taxes on your payment. It will also not affect eligibility for Marketplace financial assistance or Medicaid eligibility.


When Will the Checks Arrive?

The federal government is working to get these payments into the hands of people as soon as possible.

The payments are automatic for most taxpayers.

  • No further action is needed by taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019. The checks will arrive by direct deposit (using the account that they use to pay their taxes or receive tax refunds) in the month of April. Mailed checks will take longer.
  • Eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, SSDI, or veterans' benefits as well as taxpayers who do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return will receive a payment. This also includes those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from certain benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income benefits.
  • Social Security and Railroad Retirement recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action. The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate payments of $1,200 to these individuals even if they did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019.
  • Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.

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Latest News:

You should complete this application with the IRS, if:

  • You did not file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return because your gross income was under $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples). This includes people who had no income.Or
  • You weren’t required to file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return for other reasons

 

If you receive these benefits, the IRS already has your information and you will receive $1,200. Do not use this application if you receive:

  • Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits
  • Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits

Special note: People in these groups who have qualifying children under age 17 can use this application to claim the $500 payment per child.

UPDATE: If you do need to file wit the IRS, you must do so by May 5, noon eastern.

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The IRS plans to mail a letter about the economic impact payment to the taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after the payment is paid. The letter will provide information on how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment. If a taxpayer is unsure they’re receiving a legitimate letter, the IRS urges taxpayers to visit IRS.gov first to protect against scam artists.

For more information visit the IRS' Coronavirus website.

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Monica Bryant
mb@triagecancer.org