What You Need to Know About the Stimulus Checks and Unemployment as of March 31st, 2020
We get dozens of questions on a daily basis about the stimulus checks and unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. This information is valid as of March 31st, 2020. It changes constantly though, so make sure to check back for updates.
Since it's a ton of information, we've narrowed it down to the most common questions. Here's a quick Q & A:
How Much Will My Stimulus Check Be?
For Single People:
If you’re single and you have an adjusted gross income of $75K or less you’ll get $1,200.
If you’re single and make more than $75K the amount will decrease in accordance with how much you make over $75K.
If you’re single and make $99K or more, you get nothing.
If you’re head of household (single with dependents) and your gross adjusted income is $112,500 or less you get $1,200
For Married Couples:
If you’re married filing jointly and make $150K or less you get $2,400.
If you’re married filing jointly and make over $150K the amount will decrease in accordance with how much you make over $150K.
If you’re married filing jointly, have no children and make $198K or more, you get nothing.
If you’re married filing jointly have two children and earn more than $218K, you get nothing.
If someone claimed you as their dependent on their 2018 or 2019 tax return, you get nothing, even if you’re an adult.
If you’re a college student and your parents paid at least half your expenses and you’re under the age of 24, you will be considered a dependent of your parents.
I Have Children, Do I Get More?
You get $500 for every qualifying child 16 or younger.
Please go to www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit/qualifying-child-rules to check the qualifying child rules.
How Many Times Are We Going to Receive a Stimulus Check?
Just once, unless there are future bills that provide additional payments.
If I Receive Social Security Benefits, Am I Eligible?
Yes, but you’re still bound by the same income guidelines as single or married filing jointly that we described previously.
When Will I Receive My Stimulus Check?
According to Treasure Secretary Mnuchin, people who have correct direct deposit information in the system can expect their payments by April 17th, 2020.
Those who have to update their information, have to wait for the IRS to build a portal, gain access and then receive their checks some weeks later.
The IRS has not provided a timeframe for those who have chosen to receive a paper check.
What If I Don’t Usually File Returns Because I’m a Veteran, Low-Income or Have Disabilities? Do I Still Get a Stimulus Check?
The IRS needs you to file a simple tax return to receive a stimulus check.
The IRS Website states that they will soon provide information on how to file this simple tax return on their IRS.gov/Coronavirus Page.
What If I Haven’t Filed My 2018 or 2019 Tax Return? Can I Still Receive a Stimulus Check?
Yes. The IRS is urging people with t tax filing obligation for 2018 and 2019 to do it as soon as possible and include their direct deposit information as well.
What If I Owe Money to the IRS?
Whatever you owe the IRS won’t come out of the stimulus check and even people who owe back taxes will still get the full amount they qualify for.
What If I’m Behind In Child Support Payments? Do I Get a Stimulus Check?
Normal IRS rules for child support and tax refunds will apply. This means your stimulus check will be reduced or non-existent.
What If I Don’t Have a Social Security Number? Will I Get a Stimulus Check?
No. People without a social security number don’t qualify.
Is the Stimulus Considered Taxable Income?
No. You will not have to pay taxes on it.
What If I’m Behind on Student Loans or My Wages Have Been Garnished Due to Student Loan Default? Will I Qualify to Receive a Stimulus Check?
Yes. In fact, the economic impact bill suspends all efforts to garnish tax refunds, including money owed to the IRS, but it doesn’t apply to people owing child support.
Is There a Way to Calculate My Stimulus Payment?
Yes. Forbes has a Stimulus Calculator on their Website. Go to: www.forbes.com/advisor/personal-finance/stimulus-check-calculator
Who Will Be Covered By the Expanded Unemployment Program?
It covers many more than usual and includes self-employed and part timers.
How Much Will I Receive In Unemployment Benefits Under the Federal CARES Act?
Federal CARES Act benefits vary by state.
Under the Act workers get an extra $600 in addition to their unemployment. New Jersey is giving their taxpayers $713 in addition to their unemployment benefits. New York is providing $600.
The Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Website however, states as of today, March 31st, 2020 at 11:18pm that they will update the Website with “instructions on accessing these (Federal CARES Act) benefits as we receive guidance from de federal government.” In other words, they haven’t determined an amount yet.
How Much Will I Receive In Unemployment Benefits Under the Federal CARES Act If I’m a Tipped Employee?
This will depend on the amount of tips your employer reported. Some employers underreport which means you might get a smaller check than you expect.
According to the House Ways and Means Committee in some extreme cases, tipped employees may not have enough income to even qualify for unemployment.
Are Independent Contractors, Freelancers and Gig Workers Eligible for Unemployment Benefits?
Yes, under the Act self-employed people are eligible for unemployment benefits, but they will have to prove their income with “proper documentation”. The term “Proper Documentation” is yet to be defined by New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania though.
In Pennsylvania, the Unemployment Compensation Website states that self-employed individuals should not file for unemployment benefits until special instructions are provided. You should not file a claim through the Website or by phone. You should look for instructions in the FAQs on regular basis until the update it with instructions on how to file.
New York Unemployment states that if you’re eligible you can go ahead and apply at www.labor.ny.gov/signin.
The New Jersey unemployment Website states that you can apply for benefits online by going to www.nj.gov/labor/ at this time.
We will continue to update you on the stimulus check and unemployment benefits as more information becomes available.
We recommend you file for unemployment as soon as you can and prepare to wait longer than usual for your first check or direct deposit. With the influx of people filing for benefits and unemployment Websites crashing in many states there will certainly be delays in processing times.
We’ve used reliable sources for this information. We want to make sure you get accurate information. The following Websites were used in the writing of this blog post. We recommend you click on the links for additional information.