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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.

Did you miss the November 21st deadline to file a claim for the first stimulus check?                                                                                                      The IRS set a November 21st deadline for non-filers (those who did not file tax returns) to provide their information to claim the first stimulus check. If you missed the deadline, you’ll be able to claim the additional amount when you file your 2020 tax return in 2021.The same procedure should also be used by individuals who were ineligible based on their 2018 tax returns, but otherwise would have been eligible, had the IRS had used their 2019 tax return to determine eligibility at the time the stimulus payments were released. This will be claimed as the Recovery Rebate Credit. See Economic Impact 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.

Do I qualify for 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.

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.

If you 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 so that you receive payment for yourself and qualifying children. 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. 

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.

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

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

How will I get the stimulus check payment?

There are three ways you can receive the stimulus payments: direct deposit, check, or prepaid card.

If the IRS has your bank account information from your 2018 or 2019 returns a direct deposit will be sent to that account. If you do not have direct deposit set up with the IRS, you will receive a check or prepaid card. 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. You can access the full press release issued by the treasury by clicking here.


The EIP Stimulus Payment Prepaid Card: Not a Scam; How to Avoid Fees

Some people will receive a prepaid EIP Card intstead of a check. There will be some customer identification needed to activate the card so it can't be stolen from the mail and activated.

Click on this link for more information on how to use the card. Visit EIPcard.com to see the fee schedule, FAQs and more information.

The IRS has started sending letters to people telling them if they have an unactivated EIP card. If you receive this letter or believe you accidentally threw out the EIP card, call 1-800-240-8100. More information can be found by clicking 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.

Why haven't I received a stimulus check?

There could be a number of reasons.

  1. The IRS may not have your information. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities issued a statement saying, "About 12 million Americans risk missing out on their stimulus payments because they must file a form by October 15 to receive it. To receive the payments this year, these individuals must provide their information to the IRS no later than October 15 through either a 2019 tax return or the IRS “Non-Filer” tool, a simplified online form for people not required to file a tax return." Click here to access the Non-Filer tool.
  2. Additionaly, it is possible an EIP card was mailed to you and you may have overlooked it or accidentally threw it out thinking it was a scam. The IRS has started sending letters to people telling them if they have an unactivated EIP card. If you receive this letter or believe you accidentally threw out the EIP card, call 1-800-240-8100. More information can be found by clicking here.


I received a stimulus check, but did not receive one for my dependent. What should I do?

Those who got the adult EIP ($1200/adult) for themselves due to receiving Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits, SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, or VA (Veterans Affairs) Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefits (and did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 or file for an EIP for the child previously) can use the non-filer tool and request payment. You must apply by October 15, 2020.