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7 Ways You Can Prepare Right Now for Your Next Stimulus Check


Speed ​​up your payment by making sure everything is in order before taking a second incentive invoice.

Sarah Tew / CNET

There is still hope that Congress will do that pass on another incentive account before the end of the year, but the latest package may not contain second stimulus control. That could come in a separate bill in 2021, although President-elect Joe Biden has hinted that a direct payment of up to $ 1,200 per person could still be in the mix for the new account.

If you qualified to receive the next incentive paymentwhenever it comes – but your first was delayed, there are steps you can follow to speed up delivery once a check is approved. For example, if you don’t have tax returns for the past two years, if you have changed the bank status, moved from your permanent residence or have child benefits debt, you can at the end of the line to get another stimulus check and may have to wait months after the IRS starts sending them out.

The CNET stimulus calculator can provide an estimate of your future payment. And read on to learn the other ways you can prepare for a future stimulus check. We also have more specific information on how incentive payments work if you have dependents, if you over 65 years of age or retired or if you receive SSI or SSDI.

Change your address with the IRS if you’ve recently moved

If you’ve moved to a new address after filing your 2019 tax return (or at any point during the coronavirus pandemic), you’ll need to do two things to make sure your stimulus check can reach you by mail: tell the USPS where you went and also notify the IRS.

You should do this even if your new location is temporary – you can always update it if you move again. Even when your first check came by direct deposit (meaning your second check probably would too), you’ll still want to make sure your address is updated so that you receive the IRS letter confirming when your payment was sent. When the letter arrives, but your money doesn’t, you know you have a problem to solve.

To change your address with USPS, go to usps.com/move. To do this with the IRS, you have three options: fill out Form 8822, change your address over the phone, or notify the IRS in writing to “the address where you filed your last return” by your full name, your old and new addresses, your social security number, individual taxpayer identification number or employer identification number and your signature. (Find more detailed instructions at how to change your address to receive your stimulus, check here.)

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Keep your bank status up to date

Changing your bank status can delay the receipt of your incentive payment. According to an analysis by the Urban Institute think tank, black Americans and other people of color are more likely to have “bank money” than white Americans. People who identify as white and whose income was above the poverty line were more likely to have received their first stimulus check by the end of May than people who identify as black, Hispanic, or below the poverty line, the analysis found, because the first wave of payment went to people who registered their bank account information with the IRS.

Several major banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, are now offering more affordable check-free bank accounts as part of a government-backed effort to help people with the banking system.

A second check will likely arrive in the same way as a first check. If you are a person without a bank account and your first payment came in by mail, check or EIP card, a second will probably come in the same way.

Now consider setting up a direct deposit

If you have a bank, you can use the IRS Get my payment online service to set up an instant deposit for your stimulus payment, and find out the status of your check and see if something stops payment. The initial May deadline to sign up for direct deposit for your first check has passed, but will likely reopen when and if a second check occurs.


If you keep your child support payments on time, you’re more likely to keep an eye on all of your incentives.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you did not file tax in 2018 or 2019, please complete this form

People who earned below the threshold to file federal income tax returns in 2018 or 2019 were not given an incentive check unless they completed an online non-affiliate form for the IRS (this group includes low-income families with children and a disproportionate number of black people and people of color).

If your first check is still missing, you must complete that form by November 21 at 12:00 PM PT / 3:00 PM ET to claim your missing money – or miss money for your family members, if you’ve only received a partial check – to get payment before tax season 2021. (You can use our calculator to estimate how much you might be eligible to receiveYou should also complete the non-affiliate form so that the IRS has your information on file when a second check is approved.

Pay off all your child benefits in arrears

If you spend more than $ 150 in child benefit arrears (so-called arrears), your state may reserve the right to garnish all or part of your first stimulus checkbased on how much you owe. This would likely be the case if a second stimulus check is also passed. If possible, you should pay any overdue child support as soon as possible to ensure you get your full stimulus check, as well as any possible payment for your child.

If you owe child support, you can receive money from your child’s other parent, although it may take a while to get to you after it has been processed by the state. Read more about how child support here affects stimulus controls.


Are all your affairs in order before a new check is decided? Now is the time to act.

Angela Lang / CNET

Get your tax documents in order today

like you missed the extended deadline to file your taxes for 2019 (that was on October 15), you can still submit late. There is no penalty for doing this if you owe a refund, but if you owe the IRS money, starting July 16, 2020, you will be subject to penalties and interest for the remaining unpaid tax, along with a $ 300 filing penalty.

However, if you owe federal taxes or have other federal debts, the IRS won’t cut your incentive payment to cover those – the only exception is if you owe child support.

Again, if you weren’t required to file a 2018 or 2019 tax return because you were below the income limit of $ 12,200 If you are under 65, you must use the IRS nonfilers tool by Nov. 21 to claim a missing payment.

For those filing tax returns, but miss the deadline for the tool for non-filers, after November 21next year, you can declare your payment on your 2020 tax return. (Important caveat: if you filed a 2019 tax refund, even if you weren’t required to do so, don’t use the nonfilers tool – this will slow down the processing of your declaration and possible refund.)

Triple check if you are eligible for a stimulus check

Not everyone is eligible for a second stimulus check. The overall qualifications for receiving a first stimulus check under the March CARES Act would probably hold for a second.

This is who qualified for the first round, based on your total income on your taxes for 2018 or 2019:

  • If you are a single filer making less than $ 99,000
  • If you register as the head of a household and earn less than $ 146,500
  • If you file with your spouse and earn less than $ 198,000

However, there are many exceptions and rules depending on your situation (you can find more detailed list of stimulus check qualifications here). Find out what your stimulus check might look like if you receive SSI or SSDI, if you have dependents, if you are a young adult or if you are over 65 or retired. And you can use our tool to help you calculate how much incentive money you could receive.

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