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Will you qualify for a $1,200 COVID-19 stimulus check?

Frequently asked questions about the plan
Posted at 11:18 AM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 20:39:24-04

Millions of Americans are suddenly out of work or working greatly reduced hours due to coronavirus lockdowns and wondering how they will pay next month's bills.

That's why President Trump and Congress are rushing to pass a $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill that will include a $1,200 check for most adults in the United States.

But who qualifies? And when will yours arrive?

Although the deal is not yet final, here is what we know so far, according to an analysis by CNBC Business News.

Q: Who qualifies for a stimulus check?

Under the current plan, 90% of adults should qualify for an initial $1,200 stimulus payment, with a second payment possible later this spring.

  • Individuals will receive a check for $1,200.
  • Married couples will receive a check for $2,400.
  • Each dependent child will receive $500 (payable to their parents).

Q: Who does not qualify for a check?

However, high-income individuals will not receive a check. After all, Mark Zuckerberg doesn't need one. Neither does Jeff Bezos.

Benefits will phase out starting at $75,000 in income.

Singles earning more than $99,000 in 2019 will not receive any check.

Married couples earning more than $198,000 in 2019 will not receive any check.

Q: What if you owe back child support or owe the IRS back taxes?

This is not directly linked to the IRS, so it does not appear the government will take anything out of your check for unpaid taxes. The Wall Street Journal says back child support could possibly be taken out of your check, but the final version could change.

Q: What if you don't file taxes?

Seniors on Social Security and younger people on disability will qualify for a check.

However, you must have filed taxes last year or this spring. Your check will be based on your 2018 or 2019 tax return. That means if you are low-income and typically do not file, you must file a 1040 this spring, or the government has no way of knowing if you qualify.

Q: What if some of your income is unreported cash?

That should not affect the checks, as they are based on your last tax return.

Q: When will I receive my money?

Checks should be mailed to the address the IRS has on file for you or possibly be direct deposited into the account used for your last tax refund. Details have not yet been finalized.

Congressional leaders hope to have the first checks in the mail (or heading for your bank account) the second week of April.

As always, don't waste your money.


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