Everything you need to know about the second stimulus payment

On Sunday, President Trump signed a $900 billion coronavirus relief package into law after Congress passed the legislation last week. Among other provisions, the package includes a second round of stimulus checks for many Americans. “We are working swiftly to distribute this second round of payments as quickly as possible,” […]

On Sunday, President Trump signed a $900 billion coronavirus relief package into law after Congress passed the legislation last week. Among other provisions, the package includes a second round of stimulus checks for many Americans.

“We are working swiftly to distribute this second round of payments as quickly as possible,” said Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement. “This work continues throughout the holidays and into the new year as we prepare for the upcoming filing season.”

Here’s what you need to know about the second direct payment, including the pending legislation to increase the payment amount.

The 2008 economic stimulus checks are printed at the Kansas City Regional Financial Center in Kansas City, Missouri, May 8, 2008. REUTERS/Dave Kaup (UNITED STATES)
The 2008 economic stimulus checks are printed at the Kansas City Regional Financial Center in Kansas City, Missouri, May 8, 2008. REUTERS/Dave Kaup (UNITED STATES)

Who qualifies for a payment?

The government is sending payments of $600 for eligible individuals and $1,200 for qualifying married couples who file a joint return. Parents and guardians with children under 17 will receive an additional $600 per child. Dependents who are 17 and older are not eligible. (The amount of the payments could change depending on pending legislation.)

Income requirements: Individuals who earn up to $75,000 and joint filers who make up to $150,000 qualify for the full payments. Those earning more will get a reduced payment until the phaseout threshold is met. Only those who receive payments for themselves can get the $600 payments for their child dependents.

What’s new: If one spouse has a Social Security number but the other does not (and they file taxes jointly), then the qualifying spouse will get a payment as well as any eligible children. Under the CARES Act, this was not the case.

When will I get a stimulus payment?

The IRS and Treasury Department will begin delivering a second round immediately, with some direct deposit payments arriving this week and into next week. Paper checks will begin to be mailed from Wednesday, Dec. 30.

How can I find out if the IRS is sending me a payment?

You can check on the status of both your first and second payments by using the Get My Payment tool, when it becomes available on the IRS website. The IRS is updating the tool with new information and expects for it to be up and running again in a few days.

What do I need to do to get my payment?

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 8:  Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing at the Philadelphia Financial Center May 8, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One hundred and thirty million households are eligible to receive a tax rebate check under the $168 billion economic stimulus plan.  (Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)
Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing at the Philadelphia Financial Center May 8, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

Nothing. Payments are automatic, and you don’t need to contact your bank or the IRS with payment timing questions.

Payments are automatic for eligible taxpayers who filed a 2019 tax return, those who receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Affairs recipients who didn’t file a tax return also will receive an automatic second payment.

Those who successfully registered for the first payment online using the IRS Non-Filers tool by Nov. 21, 2020, or who submitted a simplified tax return the IRS processed will also get automatic payments.

How will my stimulus check or payment arrive?

Just like the first round of stimulus payments under the CARES Act, most eligible Americans will receive the second round by direct deposit. Social Security and other recipients who received the first round via Direct Express should expect to get the second payment the same way.

The direct deposit payment may appear as pending or as a provisional payment in your bank account before the official payment date of Jan. 4, 2021.

If you don’t receive your payment by direct deposit, you will get a check or potentially a pre-paid debit card in the mail. How you received your first stimulus payment is not necessarily how you will get the second one. Mailed payments will conclude in January, the IRS said.

All payments should be sent out by Jan. 15, according to the bill’s text.

If you don’t get a direct deposit, watch your mail for a check or debit card. The Visa debit card will be issued by the Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank, N.A., and will be sent in a white envelope with the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal on it. More information is available at EIPcard.com.

What if the stimulus payment amount increases?

Men hands holding a US Government Treasury check
Just like the first round of stimulus payments under the CARES Act, most eligible Americans will receive the second round by direct deposit. If you don’t, check the mail for a check or debit card. (Photo: Getty Creative)

The House of Representatives passed legislation this week to increase the stimulus payments to $2,000 per individual and per dependent, including adult dependents. The Senate is now debating this legislation, which the president appears to support.

If this new bill is enacted and increases the payment amount, the IRS will send the difference as quickly as possible to those who already received the initial $600 payments.

What if I didn’t get a payment but I’m eligible?

Those who qualify for either the first or second payment but did not receive them can claim those payments when filing their 2020 federal taxes in 2021. It’s important to review your eligibility. Many Americans, such as recent college graduates, may be eligible to claim the payments.

The payments will be referred to as the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) on Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR when filing taxes.

What if I didn’t file a tax return and didn’t register with the non-filers tool. Can I still be eligible?

Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. You won’t get an automatic payment now, but you can still claim the money — called the Recovery Rebate Credit — when you file your 2020 federal income tax return.

Will I receive any documentation for the stimulus payment?

Yes. You will receive an IRS notice, or letter, after you receive a payment. The notice will tell you the amount of your payment and how you should have received it. It’s important to keep this for your tax records.

I have more questions. Where can I go?

The IRS will post key information on IRS.gov/eip. You also may check the status of your payment at IRS.gov/GetMyPayment when it’s back online.

Yahoo Money sister site Cashay has a weekly newsletter.
Yahoo Money sister site Cashay has a weekly newsletter.

Janna is an editor for Yahoo Money and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @JannaHerron.

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