Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, eligible individuals and families will receive Economic Impact Payments (stimulus payments) based on income.

In general, to be eligible to receive a stimulus payment:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or resident alien
  • You must have a valid Social Security number (SSN)
  • You cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return

The payment amount you receive depends on your income. Each round of stimulus payments has different income requirements.

Eligible individuals and families received the first round of stimulus payments of up to $1,200 (for single filers) and $2,400 (for married couples filing jointly) plus an additional $500 for each dependent child under age 17.

In order to receive a stimulus payment, you must have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in 2019 that is under $99,000 (single filer) and $198,000 (joint filers).

Inmates are eligible for the stimulus payment if they meet the eligibility guidelines.

Receiving Payment

You should have received an automatic payment if you:

  • Filed your 2018 and/or 2019 tax return before April 13, 2020 and meet the income criteria.
  • Do not file a tax return but receive:
    • Veterans Affairs (VA) Compensation and Pension benefits
    • Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits (includes retirement and Social Security Disability Income)
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits
    • Survivors benefits (VA, SSA, RRB)

The deadline to register online to receive a stimulus payment in 2020 was on November 21, 2020.

If you missed this deadline, you may still be eligible to receive a stimulus payment in 2021 if:

  • You did not register online or by mail and did not get a payment in 2020, or
  • You received a payment, but it wasn’t the full amount of the stimulus payment. The maximum credit is $1,200, or $2,400 if married filing jointly, plus $500 for each qualifying child.

When you file a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040SR, you may be eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit. Save your IRS letter Notice 1444 (Economic Impact Payment) with your 2020 tax records. You’ll need the amount of the payment in the letter when you file in 2021.

Learn more about the first round of stimulus payments.

Eligible individuals and families who filed a 2019 tax return will automatically receive a second stimulus payment of up to $600 for individuals or $1,200 for married couples, plus up to $600 for each qualifying child, as long as the child was under age 17 on December 31, 2019.

You are eligible for the full amount of the stimulus payment if your adjusted gross income for 2019 is:

  • $150,000 if married and filing a joint return or if filing as a qualifying widow or widower;
  • $112,500 if filing as head of household; or
  • $75,000 for eligible individuals using any other filing status

If your income is above those amounts, your stimulus payment will be reduced by 5% of the amount by which your income exceeds the eligible income limit.

Receiving Payment

If you are eligible, you do not have to take any action to receive this second payment. If you receive Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Veterans benefits, you do not have to take any action to receive the second payment. Your payment will be issued based on information the IRS has on file for your 2019 tax return.

If you did not receive the payment by direct deposit, you should have received a check or debit card. If you received the first stimulus payment on a debit card, you will either get a new debit card or a paper check for the second stimulus payment.

If you are eligible for a payment but did not receive one, you may claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on line 30 of your 2020 tax return. NYC Free Tax Prep can help eligible filers claim the credit.

Learn more about the second round of stimulus payments.

Eligible individuals and families will automatically receive a third stimulus payment of up to $1,400 for individuals and head of households or $2,800 for married couples. Families with dependents of any age will receive $1,400 per dependent as long as they meet the income eligibility requirements.

For households who have already filed their income tax return for 2020, the IRS will use that information to determine eligibility and size of payments.

For households that haven’t yet filed for 2020, the IRS will review records from 2019 to determine eligibility and size of payment. That includes those who used the “non-filer portal” for previous rounds of payments.

You are eligible for the full amount of the stimulus payment if your adjusted gross income (AGI) on your latest tax return is less than or equal to:

  • $150,000 if married and filing a joint return or if filing as a qualifying widow or widower;
  • $112,500 if filing as head of household; or
  • $75,000 for eligible individuals using any other filing status

Payments will be phased out (or reduced) above those AGI amounts. This means you will not receive a third stimulus payment if your AGI exceeds:

  • $160,000 for married or joint income
  • $120,000 for heads of households
  • $80,000 for individuals

Receiving Payment

If you are eligible, you do not have to take any action to receive this third payment. If you receive Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Veterans benefits, you do not have to take any action to receive the third payment. Your payment will be issued based on information the IRS has on file for your 2019 or 2020 tax return.

If you filed your tax returns with direct deposit or bank account information, the IRS will send your stimulus payment electronically. For those households for which Treasury cannot determine a bank account, paper checks or debit cards will be sent.

The first batch of payments will be sent by direct deposit, which some recipients started receiving as early as March 12. Additional batches of payments will be sent in the coming weeks by direct deposit and through the mail as a check or debit card.

Learn more about the third round of stimulus payments.

Some people will receive their stimulus payment by prepaid debit card, instead of paper check.

These Economic Impact Payment Cards arrive in a plain envelope from Money Network Cardholder Services. The Visa name will appear on the front of the card; the back of the card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank. The card will come with instructions on how to activate and use it. 

Those who receive a stimulus payment by prepaid debit card can do the following without any fees:

  • Make purchases online and at any retail location where Visa is accepted
  • Get cash from in-network ATMs
  • Transfer funds to their personal bank account
  • Check their card balance online, by mobile app, or by phone

Learn more about Economic Impact Payment Cards.