Most Americans will be getting stimulus money from the federal government as a result of the CARES Act passed by Congress and signed into law by the president in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As of the time of this writing, stimulus checks were just around the corner.
Below are three important things you need to know about the stimulus funding. Before getting to them however, it is worth mentioning why the federal government is distributing the money to begin with.
As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to large portions of the U.S. economy being shut down. Only essential businesses are operating. Millions of Americans will find they have insufficient income to pay their bills until the economy is opened back up. Stimulus checks are intended to provide some sort of relief in addition to unemployment benefits. The money is also intended to stimulate the economy by giving Americans more money to spend.
1. Who is Eligible to Receive Stimulus Funding
Washington has said that most Americans will get a stimulus check. That implies that not everyone will. So who is eligible? According to the law, you qualify for stimulus funding if you meet any of the three following conditions:
- You are a US citizen or permanent resident whose income is at or below a certain threshold. You must have filed a tax return in either 2018 or 2019.
- You receive Social Security, disability, or survivor benefits.
- You receive Railroad Retirement benefits.
Note that you are still eligible even if you have not filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return, just as long as you intend to file a 2019 return. Note that the deadline for filing has also been extended to July 15th. It is in your best interests to file as soon as possible in order to facilitate receipt of your stimulus funding. File even if you owe. You do not have to pay any tax monies due until July 15th.
2. How Stimulus Funds Will Be Dispersed
Next, you need to know how stimulus monies are being disbursed. The IRS is going to rely on the same method used to disburse tax refunds. That means if you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and had your refund directly deposited into your bank account, your stimulus money will be deposited into the same account. The same is true if you are self-employed and pay estimated taxes. Your money will be paid into the account used to pay your taxes.
If you normally receive your tax refunds via paper check, the IRS will mail you a check for your stimulus money. Stimulus checks will be sent out beginning April 24th. According to Forbes, the plan is to send approximately 5 million paper checks through the end of September. Recipients with the lowest adjusted gross incomes will get their checks first.
3. Speeding Up the Process
The third thing to know is that you can speed up the process if you are expecting a paper check. The IRS is developing an online tool through which paper check recipients can supply their bank information. It is called ‘Get My Payment.’ At the time of this writing it was not yet active. However, the tool is set to launch April 17th. Google it and you should be able to find it fairly easily.
If you are in need of stimulus funding as you wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to pass, know that it is on the way. Hopefully it is enough to help you make ends meet until the economy gets going again.