HOUSEHOLDS eligible for a stimulus check can make sure they get the cash faster next time if they’re approved by Congress in seven simple ways.
The support package was first rolled out in March to help Americans who’d been left unemployed due to the coronavirus crisis.
The first set of checks, worth up $1,200, are paid out to adults whose yearly income is less than $99,000 (or $198,000 for joint claimants).
Families can also get $500 per child under 17 years old – or up to $3,400 for a family of four.
Stimulus negotiations are ongoing in Washington, with not much time left for Congress to approve another bill before the end of the year.
A final package must pass before we’ll know key details, such as when the second checks will be sent out and who would be eligible.
However, President-elect Joe Biden is pushing for an “immediate” stimulus deal to stop the US from plunging into recession.
Several factors delayed the first stimulus payment and if any apply to you, there are steps you can follow to attempt to fix them now.
Below we explain all you need to know.
Change your address if you’ve moved
If you moved homes after filing your 2019 tax return, or any time during the pandemic, you’ll need to tell the United States Postal Service (USPS).
To change your address with USPS, visit usps.com/move.
If you’ve moved home, you also need to inform the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well.
To update your address with the IRS, you can choose to fill out Form 8822, change your address by phone, or notify the IRS in writing at “the address where you filed your last return.”
You’ll need to give your full name, your old and new addresses, your Social Security number, individual taxpayer identification number or employer identification number, and your signature.
If you filed a joint return and are still living together, both you and your partner should provide the above information.
The IRS said it can take four to six weeks for a change of address request to fully process, so it’s worth doing it early.
Update your banking status
If you’ve changed your banking status or any changes have been made, this could cause a delay in receiving your stimulus payment.
Several large banks like Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo now offer more affordable checkless bank accounts as part of a government-backed effort to help people enter the banking system.
A second check is likely to arrive the same way the first check did.
If you don’t have a bank account and your first payment came in the mail, either by check or as an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) card, it’s likely you’ll receive a second one in the same way.
Consider signing up for direct deposit
If you have a bank account, you can use the IRS Get My Payment online service to set up direct deposit for your stimulus payment.
This service also lets you find out the status of your check and see if anything is holding up the payment.
The deadline to sign up for direct deposit for your first check has passed, but would likely reopen when and if a second check happens.
If you didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019? Fill out this form
Americans who earned below the threshold to file federal income tax returns in 2018 or 2019 didn’t get a stimulus check unless they completed a non-filers form for the IRS.
The non-filers group includes low-income families with children and a disproportionate number of people of color.
Sadly, the deadline to claim the first stimulus check by filling in the form was on November 21.
But if a second check is approved, you should also fill out the non-filers form to make sure the IRS has your information on file.
Stay on top of child support payments
If you owe more than $150 in child support, you may have some or all of your first stimulus check seized, based on how much you owe.
This would likely be the case for a second check if passed too.
If you’re able to, it’s worth paying any overdue child support quickly to make sure you get your stimulus check in full, as well as any possible payments for your child.
If you’re owed child support, you may receive money seized from your child’s other parent, though it may take a while before you get the cash.
Get your tax paperwork in order
If you missed the extended deadline to file your 2019 taxes, which was on October 15, you can still file late.
There is usually no penalty for doing so if you’re owed a refund.
But if you owe the IRS money, keep in mind you’ll be slapped with interest for any remaining unpaid tax due from July 16, 2020, onwards.
This comes on top of various penalties, which vary depending on how late you are. You can find out more on the IRS website.
Yet it can be worth doing as most Americans received their stimulus checks this spring because it was based on their most recent tax return.
You can get more information about filing a tax return on the IRS website.
Make sure that you’re eligible
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that not everyone will be eligible for a second stimulus check, if it’s approved.
The general qualification for receiving a check under the so-called CARES Act would likely be the same for a second stimulus package.
Below’s who qualified for the first round of checks, based on your total income on your 2018 or 2019 taxes:
- If you’re a single filer and earn less than $99,000
- If you file as the head of a household and earn under $146,500
- If you file jointly with your spouse and earn less than $198,000
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