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Stimulus Checks: 10 Myths and Facts You Should Know About Your First and Second Payment


The election results are in, but the future of a second stimulus check is still uncertain.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Negotiations around another economic aid package and a second stimulus control appears to have been suspended as the Senate falls apart until after Thanksgiving. It seems less and less likely that before the new year and the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, which means it could take a while eligible US adults see a second stimulus check of up to $ 1,200.

The process of sending and receiving stimulus controls is complicated, both the first payment which the IRS still sends (if you still haven’t gotten a first check, you may have until November 21 to claim it) and a possible second round of money. Though there is still a lot we don’t know – including the exact date another payment could come your way (we have guesses), which qualifications are subject to change and who would not qualify for another round – there is also much we can infer based on the terms of the first stimulus check and the various proposals put forward in Washington, including a plan by Biden.

This is what’s true and false about stimulus controls. And here is any residual benefit that disappears if no account is taken before 2021.

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Following stimulus checks: what to expect


The IRS may still owe you incentive money from the first check

Guess? Theirs millions of people still owe all or part of their initial incentive checks. It could be that some money was left out in front of dependent children, or that one interpretation of a rule changed (this actually happened), that you’ve gone through the gap with your personal situation, that you didn’t think you were qualified, but that you do and have to go the extra mile or some other mistake was keeping you from the overall amount you were entitled to. You have until November 21 to submit your claim, otherwise you will have to wait until the tax season in 2021.

Some people are not eligible for a second incentive payment

With the first round of checks, Congress established income limits based on your adjusted gross income that was one rule that separated who did and was not eligible for a stimulus check. But it is only the beginning. Your status as a dependent or grown up, your citizenship and more also helped decide whether you had all or part of the first check – and those things will likely affect the second as well. Read more about qualifications for incentive payments here.

If you do qualify, you may not automatically receive the same amount as the first time

If the admission requirements change at the second check, you and your family can access more money in your payment, or less. For example, a new line could potentially earn you a higher amount. But there may also be changes in your living conditions – such as a birth or death, starting a new job, or becoming unemployed – that may also play a role in a different check amount. Here is how to calculate your estimate, and here it is how the IRS determines how much money You get.

You don’t have to file a tax to get a stimulus check

While taxes and incentive controls are interrelated, you don’t need to have a tax return to be eligible for a check. For example, if you are over 65 and receiving Supplemental insurance for income or social security disability insuranceyou can still qualify for a stimulus check on the basis of the CARES law. You may need to take an extra step to request your payment (you have until November 21 for the first batch) to get your check.

You can usually keep the money, but there are exceptions

In most cases, your check is yours to spend or save as you wish. But there are a few situations where the federal government or a debt collection agency can taking all or part of your check to cover a debtlike when you child benefit.


You have a few more weeks this year to claim a stimulus check.

Sarah Tew / CNET

There is a formula for calculating stimulus payments

It’s not easy to find out what your payment could be. The IRS used one formula to determine how much incentive money you have received for the first check and something similar for a second payment would determine whether you want the full amount, or a partial payment much more than $ 1,200 if you have kids.

It also explains how you may still be able to get some incentive money even if your family’s annual income is higher than the limit set by the CARES Act in March. The calculation starts with the total of your household adjusted gross income, add to the money allocated to eligible dependents, and then subtract from the total based on your income group (as defined by the CARES law).

Incentive funding will not be taxed in 2021

Theirs does not regard incentive money as income. That means a payment you receive this year will not lower your 2021 refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return. You also don’t have to refund a portion of your stimulus check if you qualify for a lower amount in 2021. The IRS said if you haven’t received everything you owed this year, you can claim it as a credit on your federal income tax return by filing in 2021.

The IRS has a list of priority groups – find yours

Eligible Americans would receive the first incentive payment at different times, often because of the way they were paid, and a second payment would be similar. For example people who have set up direct deposit – a wire transfer of money to their bank account – with the IRS, their checks could get weeks earlier than those who receive a paper check or prepaid EIP card in the mail. We have identified five priority groups based on initial stimulus controls.

Mail in ballots

You may have waited a while for your first check to arrive by mail.

James Martin / CNET

The next check may not be as delayed as the first

With the initial audit, the IRS learned how to mobilize and provide incentive money, and resolved many of the difficulties in the process. If a second check is approved, the agency can likely speed up the process of sending the first set of payments. The tracking tool is already running, the system is in place, and it’s likely that the majority of people who qualified for an initial check would get another one.

The timeline is constantly changing, but we have mapped possible dates when a check could be sent if approved before – or after – the January 20 inauguration.

There are many rules and exceptions for participation requirements

If a second stimulus check is approved, there will be many small details, rules, and exceptions that can be confusing. While some situations are easy to understand, others that concern you and your family members can make it unclear whether you qualify and how much money you could receive – there are many secondary cases.

For example:

Certainly problems can slow your control, for example if you have recently moved.

Here’s what you can do to learn more about incentive payments if you have not received your first payment and how to file a payment claim with the IRS if you think you are missing your stimulus check in whole or in part. This is what is happening with stimulus negotiations now.

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