The IRS is giving seniors who receive Social Security retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Railroad Retirement (RR) benefits another chance to claim an additional $500-per-child stimulus check if they didn’t already receive the extra payment.
If they’re otherwise eligible for a stimulus check, seniors who receive these federal benefits, but didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, should have automatically received a $1,200 stimulus payment earlier this year. However, if they have (or care for) dependent children 16 years old or younger, they had to go online and use the IRS’s “Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here” tool to get the extra $500 per child that’s allowed under the CARES Act.
The catch is that they had to use the tool by noon Eastern time on April 22 to have the additional amount included in their stimulus check payment – and the IRS gave them less than 48 hours’ notice of the deadline! At a result, many seniors with dependent children didn’t act in time and didn’t get the extra $500.
A New September 30 Deadline
On August 15, the IRS will reopen the registration period for Social Security, SSI, and RR beneficiaries who didn’t receive the additional $500 payment for a dependent child. They will now have until September 30, 2020, to use the Non-Filers tool to provide information about their child. If you miss the September 30 deadline, you will need to wait until next year and claim the $500 as a credit on your 2020 federal income tax return.
The IRS says the extra $500 payments will be issued by mid-October. If you received your original $1,200 payment by direct deposit, the additional payment for your dependent children will also be directly deposited to the same account. Otherwise, you’ll receive a paper check in the mail.
You can check the status of your payments using the IRS’s online Get My Payment tool. A notice verifying the $500-per-child additional payment will also be sent to you. Keep that notice with your other tax records.
Anyone who filed or plans to file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return should file the tax return and not use the tool. Also, if you already used the Non-Filers tool to provide information on your children, no further action is needed – the IRS will automatically make a payment in October.
What If You Don’t Like Entering Personal Information Online?
If you don’t want to use the Non-Filers tool or are unable to access it, you can submit a “simplified paper return” instead (see How to Get a Stimulus Check if You Don’t File a Tax Return for details).
You can also use the tool to enter the required information and then print and mail in the document. Just make sure that “EIP 2020” is at the top of the printed document and, in column (4) of the section for “Dependents,” check “Child tax credit” for each qualifying child you claim. Mail the printed document to the IRS address where you would file your federal tax return.
Other Non-Filers Can Still Get a Stimulus Check
Other people who are not required to file a tax return can still use the Non-Filers tool to sign up for a stimulus check – but they need to act by October 15 to receive a payment this year. Anyone who misses the October 15 deadline will have to wait until next year and claim it as a credit on their 2020 tax return.
The Non-Filers tool is designed for married couples with income below $24,400 and singles with income under $12,200. These people are generally not required to file a tax return. However, low- and moderate-income workers planning to claim the earned income tax credit or child tax credit can’t use the tool, since they have to file a regular return to get these tax breaks.