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Your coronavirus economic impact payment: Q+A.

(updated May 29, 2020)
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In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus, the government will be sending out one-time payments to all who are eligible. Most adults will get $1,200 ($2,400 for couples) plus an additional $500 per child (16 and under).

How to get your payment:

  • If you filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes, or if you receive SSDI, SSI, or Railroad Retirement benefits, you don’t need to do anything. The IRS will automatically send your economic impact payment.
    • If you receive SSDI, SSI, VA, or Railroad Retirement benefits, you do need to file taxes to get your $500 per child payment. However, the deadline to get that payment this year passed on April 22nd. Be sure to file taxes in 2021 to get this payment then.
  • If you earned enough income to file 2019 or 2018 taxes but haven’t yet, file your taxes immediately so the government will know where to send your payment.
  • If you didn’t earn enough income to file 2019 or 2018 taxes, fill out this IRS form for non-filers immediately so the government will know where to send your payment.

Important notes:

  • Some households will receive the economic impact payment on a pre-paid card. The Economic Impact Payment (EIP) Card can be used online, at ATMs, or at any retail location where Visa is accepted.
  • The economic impact payment will NOT come on your EBT card. It will arrive by check or through direct deposit.
  • The IRS is not going to call you about this. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be the IRS, or an email telling you to call the IRS, it’s a scam!
  • The official IRS term for this payment is economic impact payment, but you may also see it referred to as stimulus payment, stimulus check, rebate, government check, or coronavirus check.

Fresh EBT is not part of the government and is not involved in the economic impact payment process.

Am I eligible for an economic impact payment?

If you earn under $75,000 as an individual (under $150,000 as a couple), and you have a social security number, you’re eligible for the full economic impact payment. If you earn between $75,000 and $99,000 (under $198,000 as a couple), you may be eligible but receive a reduced amount. You can’t get a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult.

Will immigrants be eligible?

If you are filing jointly with your spouse and you do not have an Social Security Number (SSN), or your spouse does not have an SSN, then you will not be eligible to receive an economic impact payment. This counts even if your children have valid SSNs. Mixed-immigration status families should talk to a tax professional, in case you need to file separately so that eligible members of your family can receive the economic impact payment.

There is an exception for spouses filing taxes together for a spouse that was in the armed forces in the last tax year. To qualify for the exception, at least one spouse needs to have a valid SSN. Children claimed as dependents for the $500 rebate must have valid SSNs.

Will this count towards Public Charge?

The stimulus payment is a tax credit. Tax credits are NOT taken into account in a public charge determination.

How will I get my economic impact payment?

The government is determining who’s eligible and where to send payments by looking at tax returns and social security statements.

  • I filed my 2019 or 2018 taxes and provided my bank information for a direct deposit refund. The government will direct deposit your economic impact payment into the same account.
  • I filed my 2019 or 2018 taxes and provided my address for a refund check. The government will send your economic impact check to the same address.
  • I filed my 2019 or 2018 taxes and purchased a refund transfer or other loan from a tax preparer. Talk to your tax preparer directly to ensure that you receive your economic impact payment to your own bank account.
  • I didn’t file my 2019 or 2018 taxes, but I need to. You should file your taxes immediately, so the government knows where to send your economic impact payment. Check out our list of fast and free tax-filing options below.
  • I didn’t file 2019 or 2018 taxes, but I get SSDI, SSI, or Railroad Retirement benefits. You’ll get your economic impact payment the same way you get your social security benefits (check or direct deposit).
    • Note: you do need to file taxes to get your $500 per child payment. However, the deadline to get that payment this year passed on April 22nd. Be sure to file taxes in 2021 to get this payment then.
  • I didn’t earn enough income to file taxes in 2019 and 2018, and I don’t get SSDI, SSI, or Railroad Retirement benefits. You should fill out this IRS form for non-filers immediately.

Can I file my taxes online for free?

Yes! Use our tool to find a quick and easy way to file your taxes online for free and get your payment.

Here are additional free filing options:

  • If you didn’t earn enough income to file taxes in 2018 or 2019, you should fill out this IRS form for non-filers so the government will know where to send your payment.
  • If you earn under $66,000 and are not self-employed, you can file with Myfreetaxes.com, a partnership between United Way and H&R Block.
  • If you earn under $69,000, IRS Free File lets you file with leading tax prep software, like H&R Block, Turbotax, and others. Use their Free File Lookup Tool to figure out which free file offer is best for you.
  • IRS.gov/coronavirus may soon provide a simple 2019 tax return. We’ll update this link when it’s available.
  • You shouldn’t use an in-person tax preparer, nor should you pay anything to file online. Some free online filing options will prompt you to pay for additional services, but you do not need these to file your simple return.

When will I get my economic impact payment?

The IRS has released this tool to check your payment status.

What if my economic impact payment doesn’t arrive when it’s supposed to?

You’ll get a letter a few weeks after your payment has been sent. The letter will state how the payment was made and let you know how to contact the IRS if you haven’t received it.

Does my economic impact payment count as income or an asset for SNAP?

The economic impact payment doesn’t count as income for SNAP, and it’s not taxable either.

The economic impact payment won’t count as an asset for the first 12 months it’s in your bank account. After that point, it could count as an asset. Not all states have asset limits. Contact your local office if you have questions about the asset limit in your state.

Note that the economic impact payment is separate from SNAP, and is NOT distributed on your EBT card.

How has the coronavirus impacted food stamps?

Download Fresh EBT or check this article for updates about additional benefits, schedule changes, renewal extensions, and more.

If I have a past-due debt to a federal or state agency or owe back taxes, will my economic impact payment be reduced?

No, the bill turns off nearly all administrative offsets that ordinarily may reduce tax refunds for individuals who have past tax debts, or who are behind on other payments to federal or state governments, including student loan payments. The only administrative offset that will be enforced applies to those who have past due child support payments that the states have reported to the Treasury Department.

I bought a refund transfer or other loan from a tax preparer the last time I filed my taxes. What do I do?

Talk to your tax preparer directly to ensure that you receive your economic impact payment to your own bank account.

Where will the IRS publish official information?

The IRS plans to publish official updates at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

Sources

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