Information about Direct Payment Relief Checks

Check on the Status of your Economic Impact Payment (EIP)

The IRS has been working since mid-April to distribute Economic Impact Payments to eligible individuals. The payments, also referred to as stimulus payments, are automatic for most taxpayers. No further action is needed by taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees. If you want to check on the status of your checks or your eligibility for these payments, please visit the IRS Economic Impact Payment Portal.

2020 Economic Impact Payment: Most Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Congress making economic impact payments (EIP) to eligible individuals?

The public health and economic consequences of COVID-19 are significant. These payments will help Americans who've been affected by this public health crisis, as many are experiencing a significant cash crunch.

How many EIPs will be made nationwide?

As of May 8, 2020, the IRS estimates that over 150 million Americans are eligible for an EIP.  However, initially, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS estimated that there would be 171 million EIP payments nationwide under the CARES Act and that approximately 101 million of these payments would be paid by paper check unless the IRS receives direct deposit information for these payments before a paper check is mailed. Thus, these estimates continue to change.

Furthermore, the House Ways and Means Democratic Committee believes these IRS estimates are low because of the following populations:

• 145-150 million taxpayers who file returns below the CARES Act income thresholds;

• 25-30 million Social Security beneficiaries and SSI recipients who do not file returns;

• 14-15 million non-filers who are below the filing threshold;

• 6 million veterans (undetermined number of non-filers); and

• 500,000-600,000 individuals who receive benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (undetermined number of non-filers).

How large are the payments?

The payment amount depends on family size. The payment is $1,200 for each adult individual with a social security number making $75,000 per year or less (and $2400 for joint filers making $150,000 per year or less). Adults will also receive $500 per qualifying child 16 years of age or younger. The payments will be reduced by $5 for every $100 of income to the extent a taxpayer’s income exceeds $150,000 for a joint filer, $112,500 for a head of household, and $75,000 for anyone else (including single filers).

Do the economic impact payments need to be repaid?

No, payments do not need to be repaid. If an individual experienced an income loss in 2020 or if they have an increase in family size, they may be able to claim an additional credit of the difference when the individual files their 2020 tax federal income tax return in 2021.

How will payments be delivered?

It depends. Payments will be delivered automatically—by the IRS—to most Americans who file individual federal income tax returns. When available, an electronic direct deposit will be used in place of mailing a physical check.

How long will it take for everyone nationwide to receive their EIP?

The IRS estimates it could take up to 20 weeks for everyone eligible nationwide for a check to receive one in the mail.

How many EIPs were made by direct deposit to date in the first week of payments? 

Treasury reported that “over 80 million Americans” had rebates deposited into their bank accounts the week of April 13, 2020.

How many EIPs have been issued so far?

As of May 8, 2020, the IRS stated that approximately 130 million individuals have received their EIP payments worth more than $200 billion nationwide distributed in the program's first four weeks.

More payments continued to be issued every week via direct deposit and mailed checks.

How many people in Texas have received an EIP so far?

As of May 8, 2020, the IRS reports that $10,728,541 Texas taxpayers have received an EIP so far, totaling a statewide amount of $18,796,209,760.

Has the IRS issued paper checks yet?

Yes, the IRS began mailing checks as early as Friday, April 24. The Bureau of Fiscal Services has yet to officially and publicly confirm this date. However, taxpayers reported that the IRS portal informed them some EIPs had been mailed. We do not have numbers right now breaking down how many people have received direct deposit versus checks yet.

Later in May 2020, the IRS will sharply increase the number of mailed paper checks, especially to various Social Security and VA recipients.

Many individuals don't need to file a tax return. Are non-filers eligible for EIP?

Yes. There is no earned income requirement to be eligible for the economic impact payments, but non-filers should use the IRS portal to register their direct deposit information and ensure they get their checks faster. The Social Security Administration will share information for Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) beneficiaries with IRS to help ensure these beneficiaries receive an automatic advance payment. The IRS will conduct a public awareness campaign to reach other non-filers and provide them with information on how they can access the economic impact payments if they are eligible.

How will a person who has recently moved have access to the economic impact payment?

The IRS will determine payment delivery systems for everyone entitled to the payment. Please use the IRS portal to update your information to ensure you can get your payment faster.

Will the economic impact payments affect my eligibility for federal income-targeted programs?

No, these payments are considered a tax refund and are not counted towards eligibility for federal programs.

What identification requirements apply to receive the payment?

Taxpayers must have Social Security Numbers for themselves and their qualifying children in order to receive rebates.

Are people who filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) eligible for an EIP?

Unfortunately, ITIN filers are currently ineligible for any amount of EIP. Congresswoman Garcia and many in the House Democratic Caucus are fighting to ensure that folks with ITIN numbers can also receive economic impact payments. The House Democrats recently passed the HEROES Act, which does include individuals with ITIN numbers for the second round of payments. The bill is still pending Senate consideration.

Are families eligible for economic impact payments when some (but not all) members have SSNs? For example, when a married couple files jointly and one has an ITIN, the other a SSN and the children have SSNs are they eligible for any amount of an EIP?

The current statute requires that both spouses have a SSN, with an express exception for members of the military, in order to qualify for the credit and thus get an EIP.  If a qualifying child does not have a valid SSN then the spouses will not get $500 for that child. The House Democrats recently passed the HEROES Act, which does include eligible individuals from mixed-status families for the second round of payments. The bill is still pending Senate consideration.

Are DACA and TPS holders eligible for an EIP?

DACA and TPS recipients are eligible for SSNs and therefore should receive an EIP.

Are EIPs subject to garnishment or offset for past-due child support owed to the state agency or the custodial parent?

Yes.

Are EIPs subject to garnishment or offset for delinquent federal taxes?

No.

Are EIPs subject to garnishment or offset for delinquent federal student loans?

No.

What if my EIP was sent to the wrong account? What if the bank account number I used on my recent tax return is closed or no longer active? Can I switch and be mailed a Payment?

If the account is closed or no longer active, the bank will reject the deposit and you will be issued a check that will be mailed to the address IRS has on file for you. This is generally the address on your most recent tax return or as updated through the United States Postal Service (USPS). You do not need to call the IRS to change your payment method or update your address at this time.

As required by law and for security reasons, a letter about the Payment will be mailed to each recipient’s last known address within 15 days after the payment is made. The letter will provide information on how the Payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the Payment.

Does Trump’s public charge rule affect my or my family’s security or immigration status if I receive an EIP?

No. The cash assistance and recovery rebate will not count for public charge purposes.

What are signs of an EIP scam?

The IRS will not call, text, email, 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.

If a call or email or mailing uses the terminology “stimulus check” or “stimulus money” that is likely a scam. The official IRS terminology is “Economic Impact Payment.”

Economic Impact Payment Eligibility

Who is eligible to receive an EIP?

U.S. citizens and U.S. resident aliens will receive the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 for individual or head of household filers, and $2,400 for married filing jointly if they are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible Social Security number with adjusted gross income up to:

  • $75,000 for individuals if their filing status was single or married filing separately
  • $112,500 for a head of household filer and
  • $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns

Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their AGI is between:

  • $75,000 and $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately
  • 112,500 and $136,500 for a head of household filer
  • $150,000 and $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly

The amount of the reduced payment will be based upon the taxpayer's specific adjusted gross income.

Eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security retirement, survivor, or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) will receive a payment.

For eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018, they receive the payments automatically.

Those who don’t usually file a tax return and receive Social Security retirement, survivor, or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) also receive automatic payments of $1,200. While some of these groups receive Forms 1099, many in this group do not typically file tax returns. Many people in these groups are expected to see the automatic $1,200 payments expected to start in May.

For people who have little or no income and did not file a tax return or do not receive any of the federal benefits listed above, they are also eligible for an Economic Impact Payment. They need to register with the Non-Filer tool on IRS.gov as soon as possible so they can receive a payment.

Who is NOT eligible to receive an EIP?

Taxpayers likely won't qualify for an Economic Impact Payment if any of the following apply:

  • Your adjusted gross income is greater than
    • $99,000 if your filing status was single or married filing separately
    • $136,500 for head of household
    • $198,000 if your filing status was married filing jointly
  • You can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return. For example, this would include a child, student or older dependent who can be claimed on a parent’s return.
  • You do not have a valid Social Security number.
  • You are a “nonresident alien”
  • You filed Form 1040-NR or Form 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040-PR or Form 1040-SS for 2019.
  • You are currently incarcerated.
  • An individual who passed away before the receipt of the EIP

What is considered a “qualifying child” for the $500 per child tax credit EIP?

The IRS lists rules for the qualifying child applicable to the Child Tax Credit. The child qualifies if the child:

  • Is your son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant of any of them (e.g., your grandchild, niece, or nephew).
  • Was under age 17 at the end of 2019.
  • Did not provide over half of his or her own support for 2019.
  • Lived with you for more than half of 2019.
  • Is claimed as a dependent on your return.
  • Does not file a joint return for the year (or files it only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid).
  • Was a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien.

The CARES Act also requires the qualifying child to have a valid Social Security Number or an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN).