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Stimulus check income limit, eligibility, amount: Everything you should know about the IRS payment

"Maybell Rohu" (2020-08-02)

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There's a lot to know about the round of IRS stimulus payments authorized by the CARES Act.

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For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

second stimulus check is now expected as part of another relief package to help Americans stay afloat during the recession (here's when we think it will hit and who might qualify). The Senate, now back in session, is currently hashing out the particulars of the package.

Most people who were eligible to receive the first stimulus payment passed under the CARES Act in March -- a max of $1,200 for individuals and $6,000 for families -- have already received their check or direct deposit. If yours still hasn't turned up, you can try tracking it online and finding more details below. (If that doesn't work, follow these steps to contact the IRS if you think your payment is missing.)

Meanwhile, this is your hub for everything we know about stimulus checks so far -- your rights when it comes to the first checks, what the check means for your taxes, how to use the EIP card if you got one and more. This story updates often.

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Know your stimulus check rights

Here are some important things to know about your stimulus check. These rules apply to the first stimulus check signed in March and could serve as a model for the second check, if it passes.

The payment is not taxable: You won't pay taxes next year on a stimulus payment you receive from the IRS in 2020. The IRS does not consider it income, and a payment you get in 2020 will not reduce your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return next year. 

Since the stimulus check doesn't count as taxable income, you are not required to hand it over to facilities like nursing homes and landlords. Lawmakers are looking into stopping this practice, the LA Times reported

Your stimulus payment will also not count toward determining any benefits you receive from the federal government.


The checks will be paid out through the end of the year, with the bulk of the IRS payments having already gone out.

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You can spend your stimulus money just like cash. If you receive your payment on one of the prepaid debit cards, you can transfer the entire amount to your own account. The one limitation is, the IRS will reduce your payment to offset past-due child support.

Second stimulus check from the IRS: What's happening today

"Speaking of building on what worked in the CARES Act, we want another round of direct payments, direct payments to help families keep driving our national comeback," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "Helping to create more American jobs is an urgent moral priority." 

McConnell has previously indicated that this stimulus check could be the last.

Here's the latest progress on the second stimulus check, including the current proposals for another direct payment for individuals, and extended relief for renters and unemployed people.

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Haven't received your stimulus check yet? Let's track...


How many stimulus checks have been mailed so far?

The bulk of the first round of stimulus checks has been mailed. While the IRS hasn't responded to our many requests for current numbers, we do know that as of the first week of June, the IRS had made around 160 million payments through direct deposit to bank accounts, through the mail as paper checks and in the mail as prepaid debit cards.

A June 5 report from the House Ways and Means Committee estimates as many as 35 million Americans who qualify have not yet received their checks (PDF). The agency plans to continue sending checks through the end of the year to those who are eligible.

How to use the Economic Impact Payment prepaid debit card if you got one

On May 18, the US Treasury said it was starting to send about 4 million prepaid debit cards called EIP cards. The Treasury said it was sending these cards instead of paper checks to some eligible US residents for whom the government does not have banking information.

The Treasury said you can use the card to make purchases, get cash from in-network ATMs and transfer funds to your personal bank account without a fee. You can also use the card at stores that accept Visa debit cards. Once you receive your EIP card in the mail, head to the EIP card page to set it up.

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As part of the 2020 stimulus package, you may meet the requirements for a payment from the federal government.

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Still no stimulus check? Find the schedule for when it will get sent

You can use the IRS Get My Payment service to see a schedule for your payment. The US Postal Service also has a free service that can notify you when your check will arrive in the mail. You'll need to sign up for it. 

When will the checks be completely paid out?

A smaller number of checks may continue to arrive through the end of the year, the IRS said. 

If you want to receive your payment straight to your bank through direct deposit, the deadline to provide your banking detailing in the IRS Get My Payment portal has passed. Those who had previously provided the IRS with their banking info can still receive their payment through direct deposit.

The Social Security Administration said Supplemental Security Income recipients who didn't file a 2019 and 2018 return and who don't have a representative payee should have received their electronic payment from the IRS by May 13 by direct deposit or to their Direct Express card. For SSI recipients who receive their monthly SSI payment by paper check, the IRS began mailing checks on May 15.

Here's what we know about tracking your stimulus payment. If you moved since the last time you filed your taxes, here's where you can update your address with the IRS.

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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 , you can find that figure on line 8b of the . It's line 7 on the . 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 $99,000If you file as the head of a household and earn under $146,500If you file jointly without children and earn less than $198,000Read on for how your payment is calculated and how much you can expect. You can also look at this .  in June noted that the US Treasury and IRS faced early challenges making payments and sent almost 1.1 million checks to people who had already died and were not eligible for a payment. The IRS said someone who died before receipt of the payment, a nonresident alien or someone who is incarcerated does not qualify for a check. , the IRS said.

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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 until 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 children
For each child aged 16 or younger in the family, parents will get a payment of $500. Parents will not receive a payment for children born, adopted or placed into foster care in 2020, because the payment is based only on information from your 2019 or 2018 tax return. The IRS said you may claim the child next year for an additional credit on your 2020 tax return. Older children and other dependents may not be eligible for a payment.