What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Stimulus Checks

From your eligibility to the online stimulus check portal, here's what you need to know about the coronavirus stimulus checks.


Image via Getty/Zach Gibson


Though much can be said about the snail's pace at which urgent government assistance moves, particularly during a time when many around the country need help (financial or otherwise) as quickly as possible, it's hard to levy any kind of argument against free money.

But as with practically every other aspect of the COVID-19 era, there's a whole swarm of confusion (often confounded by conspiracy) regarding the much-discussed Economic Impact Payment. At any rate, this week will see the first wave of disbursement of 2020 stimulus checks to many Americans, while others may have to wait a good bit longer, which indeed makes little to no sense.

And while we can't force the feds to get with the times and simply Venmo all of us our money, what we can do is break down some of the most frequently asked Economic Impact Payment questions to the best of our ability:

What's it really worth?

As announced by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service in late March, individuals are due up to $1,200 while married couples are due up to $2,400. Each qualifying child adds up to $500 in additional payment. Individuals with a gross adjusted annual income as high as $75,000 will receive the full amount. For individuals who make more than that, the $1,200 direct payment is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the threshold. Married couples, meanwhile, will get the full amount so long as their gross adjusted annual income doesn't top $150,000. Checks for individuals phase out at $99,000 AGI or more, with checks for couples phasing out at the $198,000 mark. 

Who qualifies for stimulus check 2020?

Per the government, most tax-filing individuals are eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment. The exceptions are as follows:

  • Anyone with an AGI greater than $99,000 if filing as single or married filing separately, $136,500 if filing as head of household, and $198,000 if married filing jointly
  • Anyone who can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return
  • Anyone without a valid Social Security number
  • Anyone who is not a U.S. citizen and does not pass the green card or substantial presence tests used to determine tax status

Will this count as taxable income?

Hell no. PerCNBC, you're all good thanks to the fact the payments are structured as refundable tax credits.

How do I get one?

Most people won't have to actually do anything, as the information (address, direct deposit, etc.) found on either your 2019 or 2018 tax return will be used to get the money to you. Low-income workers and certain veterans and individuals with disabilities who aren't typically required to file returns but still fall under Economic Impact Payment eligibility, meanwhile, can use this non-filers tool to ensure the payment lands in the right spot. If you're supposed to file and haven't yet done so for 2019 and/or 2018, the IRS advises you to do so. Otherwise, an online portal for payment tracking and information updating will be launched in the coming days. The portal will allow you to check payment status, confirm payment type (direct deposit or check), and enter bank information.

You could also consider Googling and downloading a good invoice template, making that shit out to Donald J. Trump, and sending it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Just kidding.

When are stimulus checks arriving?

As stated above, checks are starting to show up in people's accounts this week, with tens of millions of Americans projected to have theirs by the end of this week. For others, including those who haven't filed a tax return for 2019 and/or 2018 and those with special circumstances including people without direct deposit, estimates show it may in fact take up to a few months.

Will I be stimulated again in the near future?

There's a chance, yes. Trump said earlier this month that a second wave of assistance had been considered, though it's always best to utilize extreme caution with regards to such comments. 

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