As part of the CARES Act, Congress authorized Economic Impact Payments of $1200 per person earning less than $75,000 per year, $112,000 head of household; $2400 for a married couple earning less than $150,000; with additional $500 per child under age 17. People earning above those amounts up to $99,000 single, $198,000 married, $136,500 head of household, still receive a payment, but it is smaller.

For most of us, that money magically appeared in our bank accounts in April. (Payments were delivered through the same method as tax refunds.) But that hasn’t been true for everyone, especially people who live in poverty.

Social Security recipients, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), railroad retirees, and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) and Veterans Affairs (VA) beneficiaries also automatically received a check or deposit.

Why haven’t some people received their stimulus payments? Because they didn’t earn enough to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019.

File your taxes to get the payment if you earned more than $12,200 ($24,400 if married filing jointly) by October 15, 2020, to get this year’s payment. You can use IRSFreeFile software found at You can use computers at the library if you don’t have one at home or don’t have Internet access.

People who are not typically required to file a tax return (income less than $12,200 single, $24,400 married) will need to fill out a form at to receive the payment. Again, use the library’s computers if you don’t have one at home. This must be done by October 15. Search for Non-filer. Forms are available in English and Spanish. This is the information you will need to provide:

* Full name, current mailing address and an email address

* Date of birth and valid Social Security number

* Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one; if you don’t have a bank account, the government will send you a check. Do not provide bank account information for someone else because a different name will cause the deposit to be rejected.

* Driver’s license or state-issued ID

* If you have one, use the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year

* For each qualifying child during 2019: name, Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse


A few other things to know about the Economic Impact Payments:

* The stimulus payments are nontaxable income and do not have to be paid back.

* Your stimulus payment does not count toward income, so it doesn’t affect benefits like SNAP, TANF, or Medicaid.

* If someone is claimed as a dependent on a tax return, that person is ineligible to receive a payment for themselves.

* Valid social security numbers are required for both spouses if married filing jointly and children.

* If someone owes child support, their payment may be intercepted to collect child support arrears.

* Economic Impact Payments will not be intercepted if someone owes back taxes or student loan debt or is on an installment plan.

* If you didn’t get the additional $500 for your children or didn’t get the full payment amount that you expected based on your eligibility, you can get the additional amount by filing a 2020 tax return next year.

Beware of scams! The IRS will not contact you by phone, email, text message, or social media to request personal information – especially banking details – or ask you to provide a “processing” fee. They will send written correspondence with instructions if there is a problem.

Nearly 12 million Americans haven’t received and risk missing out on the stimulus payments provided through the recent CARES Act because they don’t file federal taxes or receive certain federal benefits. In order to receive the stimulus payment, file the form by October 15, 2020, in order to receive it this year, or file a 2020 tax return next year to receive it in 2021. But don’t miss out on your Economic Impact Payment.

Recommended for you