As part of a relief bill to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the government will provide payments of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples, with $500 added for every child, based on 2019 tax returns for those who filed them and 2018 information if they have not.
You have to meet certain qualifications in order to be eligible for the money, based on your adjusted gross income in your latest tax returns. If you earn more than $75,000 as an individual, $112,500 as the head of household or $150,000 if you are married and filing jointly, the amount of those checks starts to get reduced.
Checks will be reduced by $5 for every $100 exceeding those thresholds. It completely phases out at $99,000 in income for individuals, $146,500 for head of household filers with one child and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
You are still eligible for a check if you have no income or if you rely solely on non-taxable government benefit programs like Supplemental Security Income benefits, or SSI, from Social Security.
Beware: There are caveats in the legislation that could make it harder for you to get the relief you need if your financial circumstances have recently changed.
That is because the stimulus checks will go out based on your adjusted gross income for the 2019 tax year, if you have already filed your return. If not, the Treasury Department will use your 2018 return.
For details on how the stimulus is to be distributed
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