Coronavirus stimulus check: Are you getting one? How to find out


As part of the stimulus package, you may be eligible for a payment from the federal government.

Angela Lang/CNET

Starting this week, the first coronavirus stimulus payments will go out for those who have set up direct deposit with the IRS. Your chances to get some amount of the 2020 stimulus money are high. As many as 83% of taxpayers may qualify to receive an economic impact payments, according to The Washington Post, and that goes for people who regularly receive Social Security payments.

A few CNET readers already report they’ve received notification their checks will post to their bank account April 15. Not everyone will receive the full $1,200 payment amount, but if you meet the requirements for a check, the government will either direct deposit the money into your bank account or mail it to you. Those who don’t meet the requirements won’t get a stimulus check at all.

We’re here to answer your questions: Are you eligible to receive a $1,200 payment? How do you use the IRS web portal to quickly file a return to receive your check, if you normally aren’t required to file one? What should you spend the money on? And how can you track your 2020 stimulus check?

The payments are part of a $2 trillion relief package intended to help people pay rent, purchase essentials and jog the economy as unemployment levels rise

Keep reading for help on finding out how much you’re entitled to. We’ll continue to update this story as developments occur. Here’s more information on how to avoid COVID-19 scams and how else you can get financial relief during the coronavirus outbreak.

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How much stimulus money you get depends on your taxes

The total amount of your stimulus check will be based on your adjusted gross income, or AGI, from your 2019 federal tax filing or — if you haven’t filed this year — your 2018 filing.  

If you’ve filed your 2019 federal tax return, you can find that figure on line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax form. It’s line 7 on the 2018 1040 tax form. If you haven’t filed this year, don’t worry. The US government has delayed the due date for 2019 taxes to July 15 as a result of coronavirus.

Here’s who is eligible for a stimulus payment

The amount you’ll receive will depend on your total income in 2019 or 2018. If you qualify, you’ll receive one payment. Here’s who qualifies:

  • If you’re a single US resident and have an adjusted gross income less than $99,000
  • If you file as the head of a household and earn under $146,500
  • If you file jointly without children and earn less than $198,000

Read on for how your payment is calculated and how much you can expect. You can also look at this calculator from the Washington Post.


Every little bit helps.

Angela Lang/CNET

How much you’ll get as a single taxpayer

A single US resident must have a Social Security number and an AGI under $75,000 to receive the full amount of $1,200. The sum decreases as your AGI goes up. If your adjusted gross income reaches $99,000, you won’t be eligible for the stimulus. 

Heads of household

If you file as head of a household, you will get the full $1,200 payment if your AGI is $112,500 or less, with the amount decreasing till you reach $146,500.

Couples filing jointly

Married couples filing jointly without children with an adjusted gross income below $150,000 will get a $2,400 payment, decreasing to zero at $198,000. For each child age 16 or younger in the family, parents will get a payment of $500. Older children and other dependents may not be eligible for a payment.

If you haven’t filed federal taxes for 2018, do that right now

The IRS said if you haven’t filed your 2018 federal taxes, that could affect your stimulus check and urges anyone who hasn’t filed a 2018 tax return to file now. Be sure to include direct deposit banking information on the return.

Read more: The best tax software for 2020: TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxSlayer and more

If you’re typically not required to file a tax return, you still can receive a payment

Many who normally are not required to file a tax return — including senior citizens, Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients and railroad retirees — will not need to file a simple tax return to receive the payment, the IRS said.

Others, including those who haven’t filed a 2018 or 2019 return because they are under the normal income limits for filing a tax return, can use the Non-Filers portal to get their payment. To get started, go to the IRS’ Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here site and tap the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here button. As part of the process, you’ll enter personal information and, if you want to receive your stimulus check by direct deposit, banking information.

The Social Security Administration said it is working the Treasury Department for payments for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients.

The IRS said SSI recipients and those who receive veterans disability compensation can either use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool or wait as it continues to review automatic payment options for these groups.

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What about Social Security recipients?

The Treasury Department said that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive a payment. Instead, the IRS will use the information on Form SSA-1099 for Social Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019

When will the checks will go out?

The first payments will go out April 13, the IRS told CNET. CNET readers and a commenter on Reddit said they’ve received notification from their banks that their stimulus money will post to their accounts April 15. According to Fox News, those who filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 and set up direct deposit with the IRS will receive their refunds by April 15, including those who’ve set up direct deposit on prepaid cards.

If you’ve not set up direct deposit with the IRS, it may take longer and the government will mail your check. Here’s what we know about tracking your stimulus payment.

You’ll be able to set up direct deposit to have the check sent to your bank account

If you don’t have direct deposit to your bank account set up, but you want to receive the payment electronically, the IRS’ online tool will be available by April 17. Here’s what we know about that. To avoid scams, the IRS cautions you not to provide your direct deposit or other banking information to others who offer to help you set up an electronic transfer.

Do you need to sign up, apply or request your check?

For most, the federal government will automatically send your check to you electronically or in the mail, if you qualify. If you’ve not filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, the IRS said you may need to file one to receive a payment. Scroll up to the section “If you’re typically not required to file a tax return, you can still receive a payment” for details on who is required to file and how.

What to do if you don’t receive your check

If you qualify for a payment, the IRS plans to mail you a letter about your payment to your last known address within 15 days after it sends the money. The letter will provide information on how the IRS made the payment and how to report not receiving the payment, if you don’t get it.

We have tips for how best to use your stimulus check and how to avoid being scammed. In addition to the economic stimulus package, the US government delayed the income tax filing deadline to July 15. If you need more help, here’s how to get financial relief.

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