Here’s Who Is Eligible For The Third Stimulus Checks

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President Biden signed the American Rescue Act Plan into law on March 11. This new law provides a third round of stimulus payments of $1,400 for each qualifying tax filer and each qualifying dependent. This amount is intended to top off the December $600 stimulus payments and fulfill President Joe Biden’s promise of $2,000 in combined aid.

Nearly all Americans will qualify for some kind of windfall: More than 158 million American households will receive a stimulus check. And in this round, more dependents qualify for the checks—however, the income levels at which you no longer qualify for a payment have been reduced from previous rounds.

Income Requirements For The Third Stimulus Payment

The IRS uses your tax filing status and the adjusted gross income (AGI) from your latest tax return to determine your stimulus payment amount. According to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), you and your dependents qualify for the full $1,400 payment if:

  • You’re an individual with an AGI of up to $75,000
  • You’re a head of household with an AGI of up to $112,500
  • You’re a couple filing jointly with an AGI up to $150,000

To put this into context: A couple that earns $100,000 and files jointly, with two children, will receive $5,600—that’s $2,800 for both adults and $2,800 for both children.

Calculate Your Third Stimulus Payment: How Much Might You Receive? 

If you file jointly and your spouse does not have a valid Social Security number (SSN), only the partner with the SSN  will receive $1,400 for themselves and $1,400 for each qualifying dependent. The partner without an SSN doesn’t qualify for a stimulus check. However, if either spouse is active duty within the U.S. military for any portion of the tax year, both partners qualify for the $1,400.

You May Not Receive a Check This Round, Even If You Got One Before

The income limits for this new round of stimulus checks have changed. So even if you previously received a stimulus check, you may not qualify for this one.

The adjusted gross income (AGI) maximum income for the American Rescue Plan Act are:

  • Individuals earning $80,000
  • Head of households earning $120,000
  • Married households filing jointly earning $160,000

If your AGI exceeds these amounts, your household will not qualify for the stimulus payment.

Additionally, the phase-out for stimulus reductions is more complicated to calculate this time around. Since the maximum income threshold is fixed, your total stimulus check will be reduced proportionately by the amount earned over $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of households, or $150,000 for joint filers until it hits the phase-out limits above.

What Dependents Qualify For The Third Stimulus Check?

The American Rescue Plan expands the definition of a dependent to anyone who meets the IRS definition of a dependent on your taxes. So this means if you filed your taxes and claimed a dependent—whether a child or an adult—and met the income limits for a payment, your dependent will also qualify for a payment.

Child dependents must be:

  • Under 19, or under 24 if that child is a student,
  • Or considered “permanently and totally disabled”

And must:

  •  Have a valid social security number (SSN) or an adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN) included on your tax return,
  • And not be claimed as a dependent by anyone else in the qualifying tax year

In cases of split households, the parent or guardian who claimed the child in the tax return on file when the IRS processes your stimulus check will receive the stimulus payment for that child.

Adult dependents must:

  • Make less than the gross income requirement, which is $4,300 for 2020, excluding Social Security benefits and tax-exempt income such as services performed by individuals with disabilities at a sheltered workshop
  • Receive at least half their total support from you
  • Have their SSN included on your tax return
  • Not be claimed by anyone else other than you in the qualifying tax year

Note: If you have a baby or adopt a child after you receive your stimulus check, you will be able to claim them as a dependent on your 2021 taxes for the $1,400 tax credit.

Deceased Relatives

2020 was a devastating year and the number of deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic continues to climb.

You won’t receive a stimulus check for someone who died in 2020. The exception is for couples filing jointly where one spouse died in 2020 and was active duty U.S. military at some point in 2020. In this case, the surviving spouse would receive their $1,400 and the $1,400 for the deceased partner.

If your loved one died in 2021, they qualify for the $1,400 stimulus if they met all the other requirements.

How Is Your Income Calculated For The Stimulus Payments?

The IRS will use the AGI on your most recent processed tax return on file. While 55.7 million Americans have already filed their taxes for 2020, millions still haven’t filed—and the IRS is also significantly behind on processing tax returns.

The IRS will use your 2020 tax return if it has been processed by the date they submit your check. If your 2020 return is not available yet, they will use the information from your 2019 tax return.

Note: On March 17, the IRS announced an extension to file your 2020 taxes. Tax returns will now be due by May 17. But if you expect that you may receive more in stimulus money based on your 2020 taxes, and you have not yet received confirmation of your stimulus payment status (more on that below), you should file as soon as possible.

If you are not required to file your taxes and successfully used the IRS’s non-filers tool or completed a special simplified tax return in 2020, no action is needed on your part to receive your payment.

If you do not qualify based on your 2019 income, but you will qualify based upon your 2020 income, consider filing your taxes as soon as possible. Depending on your timing, your stimulus eligibility may be determined before your 2020 tax return is processed. However, the law includes a provision to make supplemental payments in September to ensure people who qualify do not need to wait until the 2021 tax season.

When Will Stimulus Payments Be Sent?

Your stimulus payment may already be on its way—or you may have already received it. On March 12, the IRS announced that the $1,400 stimulus check will reach Americans within the week.

The first payments were sent by direct deposit and were scheduled to arrive on March 17. The IRS will continue to send additional batches of direct deposits, as well as mailing checks and debit cards, over the next several weeks.

How Do You Track Your Payments?

You can check the status of your stimulus payment on IRS.gov using the Get My Payment tool. If you receive the notice “Payment Status Not Available,” it indicates one of the following situations:

  • The IRS does not have enough information
  • Your payment has not been processed yet
  • You’re not eligible for a payment

If you believe you are eligible for a payment, check the Get My Payment tool over the coming weeks, as the IRS continues to process payments.

What If I Filed My Taxes For the First Time in 2020?

First-time taxpayers may face additional delays in receiving their stimulus payments.

Before the IRS can issue these stimulus checks, they must receive and process your 2020 tax return. However, due to new tax codes and more complicated tax filings this year (due to pandemic aid programs), as well as processing stimulus payments, the IRS is backlogged. There are already 6.7 million returns yet to be processed, which is significantly higher than the nearly 2 million delayed returns at this point last year.

Read More: Best Tax Software of 2021

The IRS has said that it continues to process tax refunds while it processes stimulus payments. If you have not filed your 2020 taxes and anticipate a refund, the IRS recommends filing electronically and providing your direct deposit information. According to the IRS.gov, “IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.”

However, the Washington Post reported that some people who filed on Feb. 12 are still waiting for their returns to be processed.

How Will You Receive Your Payment?

The majority of payments will be sent via direct deposit. The IRS states that those who do not receive their stimulus payments as direct deposit will likely receive it as a mailed check.

Payment may also be sent as a prepaid debit card, as known as an EIP card. If payment is issued as a debit card, you will receive a new debit card, even if you had a previous EIP card. The new payment will not be added to an EIP card from a previous stimulus payment.

Make sure to keep a close eye on your mail over the coming weeks to ensure your check or EIP card is not lost in your junk mail. If your mailbox is not secure, the IRS recommends that you check it regularly.

If you receive Social Security or another federal benefit, you will generally receive your payment in the same method those payments are received. The IRS has not yet announced when these payments will be sent, but estimates that information will be available shortly.

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