President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package was signed into law March 11th, and with it brings another round of stimulus payments. This comes as 1 in 4 Americans are still struggling financially a year after COVID-19 initially reached the U.S.1 Eligible individuals can expect to receive $1,400, plus more for eligible dependents. Read on to find out if you are eligible, how and when you can expect to receive payments, and how tax filing may be impacted this year if you have yet to file or receive past payments.
Am I Eligible for the Next Round of Payments?
The first two stimulus payments set income thresholds to determine who would get the full $1,200 in early 2020, and the $600 approved in December. For both, individuals earning up to $75,000 and married couples earning up to $150,000 received full payments. People with earnings higher than these benchmarks received smaller payments as their income increased. And even higher-income Americans ($99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for married couples) did not receive any stimulus payments.
Households received additional stimulus for each qualifying dependent 16 years old or younger.
The Third Stimulus Payment
The income threshold to receive the full amount of stimulus remains the same. Individuals who make up to $75,000 will receive $1,400. Couples making up to $150,000 will receive $2,800.
Households with dependents will receive an additional $1,400 per dependent claimed on recent tax filings. The legislation loosened the definition of qualifying dependents to include 17-year-olds and adult dependents. This change is predicted to qualify 13.5 million more dependents.2
The third wave of stimulus lowered the income threshold for when payments phase out completely. Under the legislation, individuals making $80,000 - $100,000 and couples making $160,000 - $200,000 are no longer eligible for partial checks. If you are an individual who makes $80,000 or more, or a couple making $160,000 or more, you should not expect to receive any stimulus payments this round.
How and When Will I Receive the Third Stimulus Payment?
If your previous payments came via direct deposit, this will likely be the case for the third. If they did not, you should expect to receive it in the mail. Keep in mind that while you may have received payments one way in the past, it’s not guaranteed this will be the manner in which you receive the third. Even if you’ve never gotten stimulus payments in the mail, be sure to carefully check through all delivered mail.
If the IRS is able to match the speed at which they distributed the last stimulus, payments could be issued in the coming weeks, going into April.
It’s not recommended to call your bank or credit union if you have not received stimulus payments. Instead, visit the IRS website to check the status of your payment. Your financial institution will not have access to information related to the status of your payment. Once you receive your payment, you can utilize your financial institution’s mobile app, with Mobile Deposit, Online Banking, or an ITM to access the funds.
What if I’m Eligible, But Never Received the First or Second Stimulus Payments?
If you have yet to receive one of the previous stimulus payments despite being eligible, news of a third on the way may make you feel a bit deflated or frustrated. There are several reasons a stimulus payment may not have gotten to you by the deadlines (the deadline for the second payment was January 15th):
- You closed the bank account on file with the IRS. The IRS can pull your banking information a few ways, including from past tax returns or from federal agencies that need your banking information to issue benefits, like the Social Security Administration. If the banking information they use to send a direct deposit isn’t up to date, the deposit will be automatically rejected as it is no longer a valid account. If the IRS has the wrong bank account information for you and you do not receive a payment, you will need to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit if you have not already filed taxes this year (this will be covered in more detail later in the article). NOTE: If your second stimulus payment was put on a Direct Express card, the third payment may also be provided through this means.
- Your address isn’t up to date with the IRS and United States Postal Service. Payments will be returned to the IRS if the post office is unable to deliver your payment. If this is the case, you’ll need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.
- You may have fell victim to a scam. More on this in the next section!
If you lost or don’t have the IRS notice, you can find the information you need on your federal tax account on the IRS website.
While it’s always good practice to file your taxes early, this year comes with an extra incentive to do so. The IRS is serving two roles: tax agency and distributor of COVID-19 economic stimulus payments. Because of this, the faster you file your taxes, the faster you’ll receive any stimulus still owed to you. The IRS announced the opening of tax filing season on February 12th, so you don’t have to wait to start!
Are There Stimulus-Related Scams I Should Be Aware of?
If you receive a call from someone pretending to be from the IRS or other legitimate agency, do not supply them with any of your personal or bank information. The IRS will not call you and ask for this information. The government already has your information on file from past tax filing years. If you do provide the scammer with personal information, they may be able to claim the stimulus check for themselves and even open new banks accounts or withdraw money from existing ones. When in doubt, don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number!
2. Suspicious Text Messages
The IRS issued a warning about a text message saying you have “received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment… Continue here to accept this payment …” The link included goes to a fake website asking you to enter your personal information so it can be collected by scammers. The IRS will not send unsolicited texts, so be mindful of this scam when the third wave of stimulus is sent out.
3. Fake Checks
Scammers have been sending out fake stimulus checks. Once deposited, the scammer will follow up with the recipient and claim too much money was sent and request some back. You’ll have a better idea of whether or not a check is fake if you already received the direct deposit for your stimulus or you weren’t expecting a check in the mail. If you’re unsure whether a check is legitimate, contact your financial institution to confirm.
General Electric Credit Union is here for you during this time of uncertainty. Visit our blog for tips on budgeting, saving, and what to do in the event of an unexpected job loss; and follow us on Facebook for more tips and information related to the third wave of stimulus payments.
1 Ivanova, Irina. “4 In 10 Americans Struggling Financially, One Year After Coronavirus Struck the U.S.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 5 Mar. 2021, www.cbsnews.com/news/financial-struggles-covid-pandemic-one-year/.
2 Rayome, Alison DeNisco, and Clifford Colby. “Dependents and Stimulus Checks: Money, Tax Breaks, Who's Eligible, More.” CNET, 8 Mar. 2021, www.cnet.com/personal-finance/dependents-and-stimulus-checks-money-tax-breaks-whos-eligible-more/#:~:text=The%20first%20stimulus%20payment%20sent%20out%20in%202020,as%20long%20as%20they%20were%2016%20or%20younger.
Williams, Alexandria. Still Haven't Received Your Stimulus Check? Here's Why. MSN, 8 Jan. 2021, www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/still-havent-received-your-stimulus-check-heres-why/ar-BB1czcBM.
Schmidt, Heidi. Four Common Stimulus Scams Targeting Your Money and How to Avoid Them. FOX 4 Kansas City, 4 Feb. 2021, fox4kc.com/news/four-common-stimulus-scams-targeting-your-money-and-how-to-avoid-them/.