The House has passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus (COVID-19) aid package — this is the largest economic stimulus legislation to be passed in U.S. History — to help recover the American economy in wake of COVID-19's crippling effects.
The stimulus package will give Americans who qualify a direct payment of up to $1,200 if they filed individual tax returns or up to $2,400 if they filed joint tax returns. However, there are some questions about the payments.
1. Who is eligible for the checks?
The most money you can receive is $1,200 if you make under $75,000 a year (adjusted gross income). If you make over that, the official payment decreases by $50 for every $1,000 more you make a year. You can use this calculator to figure out how much money you will receive.
If you have not filed your 2019 tax returns, the IRS will see if you filed your 2018 tax returns and use that income information to determine how much you are eligible for.
2. How will you receive the checks?
The checks will be sent out via the bank account information that is on file with the IRS from either your 2019 tax returns — or if you haven't done them yet — your 2018 tax returns.
3. How old do you have to be to receive one?
The provisions of the bill say that parents will get a check for $500 per child. So if you are under the age of 18 you will not be receiving $1,200 but your parents will receive a $500 check for you since you are claimed as a dependent on their taxes.
Everyone is eligible, but the amount of money you receive will depend on if you are still a minor, if you're single, or married.
3. Are college students eligible?
Any college student is eligible for the check as long as they are not claimed as a dependent on their parents' taxes. If they are claimed as a dependent on their parents' taxes, their parents will receive a check for $500 for each child claimed.
4. Will it be $1,200 exactly, or will it be taxed?
The money will not be taxable income, so you will receive the whole lump sum of $1,200.
5. Can I give mine to someone who needs it more than I do?
You are free to do whatever you want with your money. There are no limitations as long as what you are doing is legal.
6. Is it a one-time payment or a series of monthly payments?
This will be a one-time payment with no more money allocated in the package for payments throughout multiple months. However, the bill will include 13 months of unemployment payments.
7. When will I get the money?
The money is set to be released in three weeks but if you don't have your bank account information set up from filing taxes and instead received paper checks for your taxes, then it might take longer as you will be receiving a paper check.