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COVID-19 Stimulus Check FAQs

COVID-19 Stimulus Check FAQs was written by Lone Star Legal Aid and Texas Legal Services Center and applies only to the COVID-19 stimulus payments.

Do I need a social security number to get a stimulus check?

Yes. Everyone must have a valid Social Security number in order to be eligible. If you file jointly with your spouse, both you and your spouse must have social security numbers. Your qualifying children must also have social security numbers. There is an exception for members of the military.

Which tax year is used to determine whether I qualify?

The government looks at your 2018 or 2019 tax return to decide what your income level is, whichever one is more recent. If you did not file a 2018 tax return, you will need to file a 2019 return to obtain your payment.

Individuals have until July 15, 2020 to file their 2019 tax return.

Will I get a stimulus check and how much will I get?

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has provided a flow chart to determine if you will recieve the economic impact (stimulus) payment.  Click here to access to chart.

For more information, see below:

Who will get the Stimulus Check?

How much money will they get?

Single adults who have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less

Full amount of $1,200

Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less

Total of $2,400

Taxpayers filing as head of household who earn $112,500 or less

Full amount of $1,200

Single people earning between $75,001 and $99,000 or married people who have no children and earn between $150,001 and $198,000

An amount less than $1,200



*See next question for information on additional payments you will recieve for a qualifying child.

How much will I get for a qualifying child?

A qualifying child is a child you claim as a dependent and is age 16 and under. You will receive an additional $500 per qualifying child. There is no limit on how many qualyifying children you can claim.

Do I qualify for a stimulus check if I am a dependent?

You cannot get a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you are an adult. College students do not get any money if anyone claims them as a dependent on a tax return. Usually, students under the age of 24 are dependents in the eyes of the taxing authorities if a parent pays for at least half of their expenses.

Will I receive a stimulus check if I receive social security? Is there anything special I need to do?

If you receive Social Security benefits you are eligible to receive a stimulus check even if you do not file an income tax return. The IRS will use the information that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has on file to determine your eligibility. No other action is needed.

However, if have not filed an income tax return, the IRS does not have any information regarding any dependents and you will not receive any additional amounts for any qualifying dependents you may have.

If you normally receive your social security benefits directly in your bank, you will receive the stimulus check the same way. Others will receive a check in the mail. SSA will not consider economic impact payments as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.

However, if you receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability insurance benefits and did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and you have qualifying children under the age of 17, you should go to this IRS’s webpage to enter your information instead of waiting for your automatic $1,200 Economic Impact Payment.  By taking proactive steps to enter information on the IRS website about you and your qualifying children, you will also receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to your $1,200 individual payment.  If Social Security beneficiaries in this group do not provide their information to the IRS soon, they will have to wait to receive their $500 per qualifying child. This also applies to SSI recipients who have qualifying children under age 17.

Will I receive a stimulus check if I pay child support or am in arrears?

If you are on the Treasury Offset list for owing child support arrears or if your child support payments are more than 90 days delinquent, your check will probably be reduced by the amount you owe in child support. You should contact the Texas Attorney General Child Support Division in order to work out arrangements to resolve your debt. To find out if your name is on the Treasury Offset list call the toll-free IRS number at (800) 304-3107. 


Will I receive a stimulus check if I owe back taxes?

Yes. Your stimulus check will not be affected by the taxes that you owe to the IRS.

Will I receive a stimulus check if I’m behind on student loans?

Yes. Your stimulus check will not be affected if you are behind on student loan payments.

Will I have to pay taxes on the check or pay back the money if my 2020 tax filing is over a certain amount?

No. The stimulus checks are tax credits. They are similar to other refundable tax credits, which aren’t considered income and which aren’t taxable.

How will I get the stimulus check payment?

If the IRS has your bank account information from your 2019 or 2018 returns a direct deposit will be sent to that account. If you do not have direct deposit set up with the IRS, they will mail you the check. 

Most payments will be sent by check. However, on May 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued a press release stating it has begun to send nearly 4 million stimulus payments by prepaid card (EIP Card) instead of paper checks. Using prepaid cards allows the treasury to quickly send out more payments, but not everyone will receive a card instead of a check. You can access the full press release issued by the treasury by clicking here.

There will be some customer identification needed to activate the card so it can't be stolen from the mail and activated. To read more about how to use your EIP Card, click here.

What if I did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return?

The IRS has added a portal to allow those who did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return (and who are not required to) to provide their name and direct deposit info for the stimulus check. Find it here.

I need to check the status of my stimulus check payment.

You can check the status of your stimulus check payment by clicking here.