Answers to Common Questions About the Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

Stimulus Checks Facts, Stimulus Checks FAQs

So many checks and even more questions! There is a lot of confusion out there over the details surrounding the coronavirus stimulus checks, so below we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers.

  • How much will the check be for? Each adult will receive $1,200; if you filed as married jointly, you'll get $2,400; with an extra $500 for each qualifying child.
  • What if I didn’t make any money last year or I was on a reduced income? It doesn’t matter. There is no minimum income threshold you need to pass to qualify. However, if you did not file an income tax return for the 2018 or 2019 tax year, you’ll need to provide your information at the following link so the IRS knows where to send your stimulus money:

  • I heard that if I make too much money, I won’t receive a check? On the other end of the spectrum, there are income limits based on your tax filing status. If you are single and made more than $75k, married and earned more than $150k, or a head of household with more than $112.5k in adjusted gross income, your stimulus check amount will start to phase-out, and many above these incomes will not receive anything.
  • My income is under the threshold in 2018 but over in 2019. What are my options? In this case, you can wait to file your 2019 return and qualify to receive the check based on your 2018 tax return. This is easy to do this year given the automatic extensions granted for federal income tax returns.
  • In 2020, my income is going to be higher than in 2019 and put me above the thresholds. Will I have to pay back my stimulus check? No, there is no claw-back provision in the law, so you won’t have to pay it back.
  • Is my check taxable? No, it is not taxable income.
  • I didn’t need to file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 because my only source of income is Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and my income was limited; do I have to file a return now to get a check? SSDI recipients don’t need to file a return or take additional action. Their checks will be direct deposited or sent via mail – the same way they normally receive their benefits.
  • I have a child in college who I claim as a dependent. Will either of us get a check? If your child is 18 years or older at the end of the tax year, you aren’t eligible for the $500 check due to his age – even if you claim him as a dependent. Your child likewise won’t get his own check since you claim him as a dependent – even if he works. There is a proposal to change this, but nothing firm currently.
  • What about a senior parent whom I claim as a dependent? The same rules as above apply, so no. In order to get the $500 check per dependent, the person must both qualify as a dependent and meet the age requirement. Similarly, the senior parent cannot get his own check since you are claiming him as a dependent.
  • We had a child in 2020. Will I receive a check for this child? Most likely not since the IRS would have no record of your new qualifying dependent based on your 2019 return.
  • How soon will I receive my check? The government is planning on processing and sending out checks as soon as possible. Based on what the U.S. Treasury has said, as soon as possible means starting to process taxpayer information in April. How soon you’ll receive your money after this depends on whether you’ve set up direct deposit with the government in the current or previous year tax filings. For taxpayers who don’t have direct deposit set up, go here to input your information so the IRS knows where to send your stimulus money:

  • I heard I can get my stimulus check faster if I pay to have it processed. Is this true? No, and beware because this is a scam. There is no legitimate way to skip to the head of the line.
  • What happens if I owe the IRS back taxes? The stimulus checks are generally exempt from seizure for existing tax debts. This includes if you are on an installment payment plan to settle a tax bill. The one exception to this possibly could be for child support in arrears. 

IRS Source for Non-Filer/Direct Deposit Information: