This past week, the government began sending money to citizens to provide assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have not received your money yet, you might be asking, “Where is my stimulus check from the IRS?”
As you may realize, sending out millions of payments at once is no small undertaking. The economic impact payments are a vital component of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to help Americans weather the financial storm caused by the pandemic.
If you have not received your funds yet and want to know where they are, this guide explains when you will receive your stimulus check from the IRS and how to best use it.
Where is My Stimulus Check from the IRS?
The first round of stimulus checks went out the week of March 10, 2020. If you use Direct Deposit when you file your taxes, it’s possible you may have already have the funds in your account.
You may feel frustrated if you have not received your stimulus check yet. That’s understandable. The IRS is sending out the recovery rebate funds in batches, so it’s reasonable to expect you will receive your funds in the near future.
If you’re asking yourself “When am I getting my stimulus check?” because you haven’t received your funds yet, it may be because you haven’t used Direct Deposit with the IRS in the past.
Thankfully, the IRS is allowing people to change that so you can receive the funds quicker.
Lastly, there is a way to track your stimulus check.
How to Check the Status of My Stimulus Check
The IRS has made it possible for you to track your stimulus check, through the aptly named Get My Payment page.
When you track your economic impact payment, you must provide several pieces of personal information to get its status.
To learn your stimulus check status you must provide the following information:
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
Upon providing your information the IRS site will tell you the status of your check. The site updates once per day, so it’s unnecessary to track it multiple times daily.
If you check your bank account like I do, this is an excellent way to stay on top of it without needing to check the IRS site. Assuming you have Direct Deposit, of course.
Will I Receive the Economic Impact Payment if I Didn’t File taxes?
The coronavirus stimulus check goes off of information you provide on your taxes. You qualify based on the most recent taxes on file with the IRS.
That means if you have not yet filed for 2019, the IRS will base your check on your 2018 taxes.
However, there are some individuals who do not file a tax return. If that describes you, you still qualify to receive the recovery rebate.
First, you need to complete the non-filers form from the IRS. You should fill out this form if you had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 for 2019, or $24,400 for married couples.
If you’re not required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, and meet that income requirement, you must fill out the form.
There are no fees for this, and filling out the form allows the IRS to process your stimulus check. The IRS will ask you to create an account, but that is free.
Here is the information you must provide on the form:
- Full name, current mailing address and an email address
- Date of birth and valid Social Security number
- Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one
- Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one
- Driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one
- For each qualifying child: name, Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse
After providing the above information, you will receive an email from the IRS that they are working on processing your stimulus check.
Why am I Getting a “Payment Status Not Available” Status?
When you track your economic impact payment you may receive a “Payment Status Not Available” error. While frustrating, there are several reasons for the error messages.
- You are not eligible for a stimulus payment
- You have not filed your 2018 or 2019 federal taxes
- You just completed the non-filer form and there has not been enough time for the IRS to process it
- You’re an SSA or RRB Form 1099 recipient, SSI or VA benefit recipient. You can’t use the tracking tool to monitor payments, but the IRS is working with your agency to process payments.
Remember, the Get My Payment app is updated once a day. If you receive the above error message, try again the following day.
What Does the “Need More Information” Status Mean on the Get My Payment App?
The IRS prefers to send payments via Direct Deposit as it’s fast and secure.
However, if you track your stimulus check and receive a “Need More Information” error, they are telling you they need your Direct Deposit information.
How Can I Give the IRS My Direct Deposit Information?
If you get a “Need More Information” error and want to receive your IRS stimulus check via Direct Deposit, it’s simple to accomplish.
Here is the information you need to provide in the Direct Deposit portal to receive the funds electronically:
- Bank account number
- Bank routing number
- Account type
You can find the above information on one of your checks. If you don’t have checks, you can find the information online through your bank account or by contacting the bank.
You need to provide this information on the Get My Payment IRS page. They will require you to verify yourself prior to providing the information.
How Much Stimulus Money Will I Receive?
Under the CARES Act, each qualifying adult will receive up to $1,200 in stimulus aid and up to $500 per qualifying child.
As an example, if you are married and have three minor children, you will receive $3,900. If you’re single, you will receive $1,200.
Again, the IRS will use your most recent tax filing to determine if you qualify under the stimulus check requirements.
If you have already filed for 2019, they will use that information to process your check. If you have not filed your taxes for 2019, the IRS will use your information from 2018.
There are income phaseouts to receive the recovery rebate check. If you’re above the income phaseout, your payment is reduced by $5 for every $100 above the adjusted gross income (AGI) phaseout.
For example, if you made $1,000 over the phaseout limit you will receive $50 less in your stimulus check. Your annual income must be below the following amount to get the full rebate:
- Single taxpayers: $75,000 or less
- Married taxpayers: $150,000 or less
- Heads of household: $112,500 or less
You may still receive a partial rebate with an income below $99,000 for singles and $198,000 for couples. The phaseout limit for heads of household depends on how many children you claim.
How Should I Use My Stimulus Check Money?
Receiving a sudden influx of cash opens numerous opportunities. Using the money to buy a new TV is fun, but likely isn’t the wisest use of the funds.
You want to use the economic impact payments to take care of your pressing needs. As Dave Ramsey argues, you want to cover your four walls. Those are:
If you don’t truly need the money, that’s great. If you do, then prioritizing your needs is essential. Here are a few uses for IRS stimulus checks to help stabilize, or improve your financial life.
1. Buy Essential Items
The key reason for the COVID-19 stimulus checks is to help people cover essential items. If you’re in need, this is the first area that needs attention.
Needed items include the following:
- Staples for your pantry
If your pantry is running low, or there’s a risk to losing lights and electricity, you want to use the funds to cover this first.
2. Pay Your Rent
The CARES Act provides for mortgage and rent relief, but not all renters have security.
If your landlord does not have a federally-backed mortgage, or you live in a city that has not suspended evictions, you may want to apply some of the check towards rent.
Those with mortgages have more protections. You can choose to apply funds to your mortgage, but that depends on your desire to take advantage of forbearance.
3. Save the Money
If you have not lost your job and you don’t absolutely need the money, saving it is your best option. We’re likely headed towards, or in, a recession.
We have no idea what the future holds with our economy. Putting the money in your emergency fund is a wise move that will benefit you no matter how much or how little you currently have saved.
If you don’t have an emergency fund, Chime is a terrific choice. The financial app has no minimum balance requirements and round up your purchases if you also open a checking account, and put it in your savings account.
You can receive up to $500 per year this way!
4. Pay off Debt
Do you still have your job, but have credit card debt? Another wise use of the coronavirus stimulus checks is to pay off debt.
Not only will this save money on interest, but it will allow you to weather any upcoming financial storm that much better.
5. Invest it
If you don’t truly need the recovery rebate check, investing may be a legitimate choice. A lot of people are afraid to invest given the headwinds in our economy, but there is opportunity in the market.
Look at your investment plan and determine if you’re comfortable putting additional money into the market. Or, if you’re not investing this can be a good time to start.
If you want assistance, Betterment is a terrific robo-advisor that helps you manage your investments and reach your goals.
6. Give to a Local Charity
Millions of people are in need, especially with the mounting job losses. If you have the ability, and don’t need to file an unemployment claim, you may want to give to a local charity, such as a food bank.
I know our local food bank is experiencing skyrocketing costs and is happy to receive any assistance it can.
The CARES Act provides a $300 tax deduction for charitable contributions, and you don’t need to itemize to take advantage.
We’re truly living in historic times. We will make it through this pandemic, but it will take time. The economic stimulus checks are a much-needed injection of cash for countless Americans.
If you’re asking yourself “Where is my stimulus check?” follow the directions in the post to determine the status. Stay safe and use the funds wisely!
How are you using your stimulus check? What are you doing to manage your finances during the pandemic? Have you received your check yet?
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