On Friday, March 27, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a Senate bill creating a historic $2.2 trillion aid package, which President Trump signed into law. This bill will help Americans struggling with the devastating financial effects of COVID-19. A centerpiece of this stimulus package is direct financial assistance to Americans in the form of Economic Impact Payments.
The amount each individual or family will receive will be based on their income. Most adults will get about $1,200. There’s an additional $500 for each child younger than 17 years old. You could get less if you make more than $75,000 as a single person or $150,000 as a married couple. The government knows how much you make. They will base your stimulus payment on your tax return for tax year 2019 or your return for the 2018 tax year if you have not yet filed for 2019. (To get an estimate of the amount of your individual Economic Impact Payment you can use this stimulus estimator created by the Washington Post.) The federal tax filing deadline for tax year 2019 has been extended to July 15, 2020. If you anticipate getting a refund, we encourage you to file your taxes now to get your refund money.
But what if you are a Social Security retirement or disability beneficiary (SSDI and SSI) who didn’t earn enough money to have to file tax returns for 2019 or 2018? Most of the people who fit into this category will not need to take any action. The government reports that it will automatically send checks to them using information tied to their Social Security statements. The $1,200 economic impact payment will come directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a department of the U.S. Treasury not from Social Security. The IRS expects automatic payments for Social Security beneficiaries will arrive no later than the end of April and automatic payments for SSI recipients no later than early May. Payments will be made by direct deposit or by check, but if you have direct deposit you will get your stimulus check much faster. The SSA says that for SSI recipients it will not count these Economic Impact Payments as income and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.
If you receive Social Security benefits and did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, and have qualifying children under age 17 you are advised to go to the IRS’s webpage to enter your information instead of waiting for your Economic Impact Payment. By taking proactive steps to enter information on the IRS website about you and your qualifying children, you will also receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to your $1,200 individual payment. If you are in this group and do not provide information to the IRS soon, you will have to wait to receive the $500 per qualifying child.
If you are a new Social Security retirement, SSDI, or SSI beneficiary since January 1, 2020 and you did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, go to the IRS’s Non-Filers website to enter your information.
The eligibility requirements and other information about the Economic Impact Payments can be found at the IRS’s Economic Impact Payment Information Center.
*Nash Disability Law does not provide tax advice, and this article has been prepared for information purposes only. Readers should consult a tax professional before acting on any of this information.