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The coronavirus pandemic has turned people’s financial lives upside down. Millions are unemployed or have seen their income significantly reduced. Account balances in IRAs, 401(k)s and similar workplace accounts have also taken a dive.

The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the Cares Act, is intended to provide relief to American businesses and workers. As part of the stimulus package, the Internal Revenue Service began distributing $290 billion in direct cash payments to tens of millions of Americans. The initial payments started arriving in people’s bank accounts on April 15.

Q: How much money will I get?

A: The amount of your rebate or stimulus payment is based on your adjusted gross income (AGI). Gross income is all the money you earn in a year, including any wages, alimony, capital gains dividends, and retirement account distributions. Your AGI is your gross income minus specific deductions or adjustments.

Here’s what to expect based on your AGI and filing status. (Not sure of your filing status? Check here.)

— Up to $75,000/single or married filing separately - $1,200

— Up to $112,500/head of household - $1,200

— Up to $150,000/married couples filing joint return - $2,400

You’ll receive a reduced payment if your AGI falls between the following ranges.

— $75,000 and $99,000/single or married filing separately

— $112,500 and $136,500/head of household

— $150,000 and $198,000/ married filing jointly

Your payment is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$112,500/$150,000 thresholds.

So, if you’re single or married filing separately and your AGI is more than $99,000 you do not qualify for a stimulus payment. If you earn more than $136,500 and file as head of household, you do not qualify for a payment. For people married filing jointly the cutoff for any payment is an AGI above $198,000.

To check how much your individual payment will be reduced, use this Washington Post stimulus check calculator.

Q: How much will I receive for a dependent child?

A: If you qualify for a stimulus payment, you are also entitled to an extra $500 for each dependent child under 17.

Q: What if I’m not required to file a tax return, how will I get my payment?

A: If you are not required to file a federal return because you earned under $12,200 as an individual or $24,400 as a married couple last year, you can use the new non-filers tool at Non-filers can also provide direct deposit information, which will reduce the time it takes to receive their money.

For those who have already filed a 2019 return but didn’t provide the IRS with bank information, the best way to get your money sooner is to take advantage of the agency’s “Get My Payment” feature, which is available at

Q: What do I have to do to collect a stimulus payment?

A: If you filed a federal return in 2018, or have already filed your 2019 return, you won’t have to do anything. The money will be sent to you through a check in the mail or direct deposit if you have bank account information on file with the IRS. For example, if you were due a tax refund and elected to have the money directly deposited into a bank account, the IRS will put your stimulus money in that account.

Here’s a guide from the IRS to help you figure out which tool to use to check the status of your payment or provide the agency with banking information.

Q: Why can’t the IRS use the same bank account information I used when I paid taxes in 2018 and 2019?

A: The Cares Act gives the Treasury Secretary authorization to electronically deposit the stimulus payment into accounts taxpayers had authorized for direct deposit of tax refunds on or after Jan. 1, 2018.

Treasury has interpreted this to mean that the IRS cannot make direct deposits into bank accounts used to make electronic tax payments, even if that account information is known to the IRS, according to IRS spokesman Eric Smith.

This means account information you used to pay your tax bill, or that you are using for an installment plan for past taxes owed, cannot be used to direct deposit your stimulus payment, Smith said.

So if your stimulus payment hasn’t been processed and you want to receive the money through direct deposit, you will need to use the “Get My Payment” tool to submit your bank account information.

But be aware many people are having trouble accessing the tool. You may need to keep trying to access the feature.

Q: I tried the “Get My Payment” tool and I received a message that says “Payment Status Not Available.” What should I do?

A: There are a number of reasons the tool can’t check the status of a stimulus payment, the IRS said.

  • You aren’t eligible for a payment.
  • Your payment is based on your status as a Social Security, disability, Veterans Affairs or Railroad Retirement beneficiary. In this case, the IRS will use your SSA or RRB Form 1099 payment information. Your payment information isn’t available on the Get My Payment tool.
  • You have not filed a 2018 or 2019 federal tax return.
  • You filed your 2019 return, but it hasn’t been fully processed.
  • You used the non-filers tool, but the information you entered is still being processed.
  • There’s a problem verifying your identity when answering the security questions.

If you don’t fall into any of those categories, keep checking “Get My Payment.” It’s possible that the system just hasn’t had time to process your information. Keep in mind that the IRS is processing millions of stimulus payments. Information on the site is updated only once a day, so checking more than once in a 24-hour period won’t yield a different result. The IRS says people who qualify for a payment will receive it by mail if they do not get it through direct deposit.

Q: I receive Social Security and don’t file a tax return. How will I get my money?

A: Individuals who receive Social Security retirement, survivors or disability (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits will automatically receive the $1,200 stimulus payment if they are eligible. The IRS announced that it has added to this group Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. The automatic payments for SSI recipients will go out no later than early May, according to the agency statement.

You can also check for updated information at

Q: Can I get a stimulus payment if I live with an adult child and she claims me on her tax return?

A: If you are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, you’re not eligible for the $1,200.

Q: We received the $2,400 for a couple. Should we have gotten the $500 for our 17-year-old?

A: No, the cut off age for the extra $500 for a dependent is when the child turns 17. There is no limitation on the number of dependents if they are 16 or younger on Dec. 31, 2020.

Q: Can I get the $500 if I’m taking care of my grandchildren?

A: If you claim the grandchildren as dependents on your tax return, you are entitled to receive the extra $500 per child under 17. However, if you are not required to file a federal tax return, you need to use the non-filers tool at to claim the $500 payment per child. You’ll need a valid Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number for each dependent you want to claim for the stimulus payment.

Q: Do college-age children get a stimulus payment?

A: To qualify for a payment you cannot be a dependent of another taxpayer. So if you are claiming your college student as a dependent, he or she does not qualify for a payment of their own.

Q: My wife and I earn too much to qualify for a stimulus payment. But can our young adult get a $1,200 payment?

A: If your adult child is still being claimed as a dependent, he or she cannot get a stimulus payment of their own. This is also the case if you are taking care of a disabled adult child who is claimed as a dependent.

Q: When can I expect to receive my payment?

A: The IRS has already started sending payments. If the IRS has direct deposit information for you because you received a refund, you’ll be among the first in line to get paid.

If you haven’t received your money in the first wave of payments, don’t worry. It’s coming. The first payments are being automatically sent to people who filed either a 2018 or 2019 federal tax return and received a refund using direct deposit. Mailed checks, to filers who gave no bank information to the IRS, will start going out before the end of April.

Q: What if I don’t get my payment, or the amount I received is incorrect?

A: The IRS says it will mail a letter to your last known address 15 days after sending your payment. The letter will provide information on how your payment was made and a point of contact where you can report any failure to receive the payment or the correct amount.

Be careful about coronavirus-related scams that may appear to be from the IRS.

Q: Will I have to pay taxes on the stimulus payment?

A: You will not owe taxes on your payment.

Q: I haven’t filed my 2019 return yet, and my income would be too high to get a stimulus check. But my 2018 income would qualify me for the $1,200. Is it wrong to wait to file my 2019?

A: Technically your 2019 return isn’t due until July 15. So if the IRS falls back on using your 2018 return, you are entitled to the $1,200, according to Smith from the IRS.

Coronavirus & the Economy: What you need to know