Economic Impact Payments, otherwise known as stimulus checks, are one-time payments being offered as part of the federal governments COVID-19 relief package. Those who have filed a 2018/19 tax return, or those receiving SSI/SSDI benefits will see these payments automatically delivered, either through direct deposit or in the mail.
FOR THOSE WHO DID NOT FILE A 2018/19 TAX RETURN: The IRS has created an online tool to help you claim your benefit without having to file a tax return. Check out this step by step guide on how to help someone complete their application, with tips for opening a low-cost checking account and locations to set up a temporary mailing address. Thank you to the staff and volunteers at Angel Resource Connection for providing much of the information included in this document. You can learn more about their work in the community by visiting https://www.angelresourceconnection.org/
Thank you to Nicole Palczewski from DESC for helping to compile and share the information below:
What It Is: Economic Impact Payments are one-time payments that are being given to many Americans through the IRS as part of the federal government’s recent COVID19 economic stimulus package. These payments will be up to $1,200 for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000 (if you make less than $75,000, you will get the full $1,200 payment automatically). For married couples, the threshold is a gross income of up to $150,000, and couples can expect up to a $2,400 payment. For families with children under 17 years of age, you will receive an extra $500 per eligible child. This will be given to you the same way your tax refunds were returned for the previous year, either by direct deposit to the bank accounts listed on your previous tax forms or by paper check in the mail. You will not be eligible for this payment if your income is above $99,000 (individual or married filing separately), $136,500 (head of household), or $198,000 (married filing jointly), you are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, you do not have a valid social security number, you are a nonresident alien, or you filed Form 1040-NR, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-PR, or 1040-SS for 2019.
Clients That Qualify: Eligible Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients, retirees, disability and/or veteran’s benefits receivers, railroad retirees, and other taxpayers who do not normally make enough money to file a tax return under normal circumstances or who are otherwise not required to file a return, will not be required to file a return or provide further information to receive this payment – it will be automatically deposited to them. This includes those with no income or whose only source of income is from benefits programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
If you are still uncertain about whether or not to file a tax return to receive this payment, visit https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/do-i-need-to-file-a-tax-return for an online assessment.
What You Need To Do To Get These Payments: These are automatic payments generated using one’s 2019 tax return, if you’ve filed it. If you have not filed for 2019, the IRS will reference your 2018 tax return. If you still need to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, you can file using e-File or IRS Free File (for those with an adjusted gross income of $69,000 or less). The IRS is also allowing people to file their 2019 tax return to receive deposit information for these payments, even if you do not need to file a tax return or only made non-taxable income, but the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” tool is the quickest way for the IRS to currently process payments. For security reasons, the IRS will mail a letter to your last known address about this payment within 15 days after the payment has been paid out to you. This letter will describe how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive payment. If you think this letter is a scam letter, contact the IRS directly or visit IRS.gov for more information.
Per the IRS: “The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the economic impact payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call, text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the economic impact payments. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.”
Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool: The IRS has come up with a web tool to help people who have not had to file taxes for the last two years (2018/2019), including those with too little income to file, SSI recipients, and veterans beneficiaries. Social Security, SSDI, and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries with qualifying dependents will automatically receive $1,200 Economic Impact Payments but can use this tool to claim the extra $500/child for any children under 17 years old. Students and others who are claimed as dependents will not be able to use this tool, or to claim any payments.
Although non-filers will still be receiving Economic Impact Payments automatically, this tool will help calculate their payment amount and will allow the IRS to give them direct deposits and payments sooner. You can find this tool here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here This tool can only be found at IRS.gov – do NOT use any tools not hosted by the IRS.
Get My Payment tool: The IRS has a second web tool to help you check on your payment status, including when the payment is scheduled to be deposited/mailed to you. You can find this tool here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment. You may need both your filed 2019 and 2018 tax returns to use this tool. If you are married filing jointly, either spouse can check on this payment using their personal information. This tool may not work properly if you do not normally file your tax return, or just filed your 2019 return and it is being processed; the tool uses personal information verification pulled from your SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 tax forms to check on your taxes in the IRS database. If you cannot provide this information accurately or do not normally file that paperwork, the tool may not work for you to generate payment amounts and processing timelines.
Why Am I Getting “Payment Status Not Available” On The “Get My Payment” Tool?: This tool is brand new and is lacking a lot of data, including recently filed 2019 tax returns. The IRS is working on expanding the data they have available to access through this tool. You may also be receiving this message because you don’t usually file a tax return and used the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” tool, but the IRS has not processed that entry yet. Those who receive VA benefits or submitted SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 forms have also not had their data entered in to this tool yet and may get a false error message. Some people who are not eligible for these payments are also getting this error message.
Should I Use “Get My Payment” Tool Or “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” Tool?: More information on that can be found at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/how-to-use-the-tools-on-irsgov-to-get-your-economic-impact-payment
How Can I Calculate my EIP?: The IRS has provided a PDF guide for how much you can expect from the payment, linked here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/how_do_I_calculate_my_eip.pdf
How Case Managers Can Help: Case mangers are crucial to this process by making sure all contact information, addresses, benefits, and identification for clients is up-to-date and complete in their case file, and across other agencies like DSHS and Social Security as needed. Because some of these state and national offices are currently closed due to COVID19, case managers should be proactive in confirming that clients are receiving these services properly and have a track record they can point to if their clients do not receive the payment or are denied the payment for any reason.
Case managers can also encourage clients to check their mail often and report back if they receive either the payment or payment notification letter. Clients should be encouraged to ask about their own benefits and confirm they are receiving the services and payments they need often.
Timelines, Deadlines, etc: The deadline to apply is October 15, 2020
To learn more about these payments in general, visit irs.gov/coronavirus.