Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Covid-19 Relief Package: Stimulus Payments to Seniors

To help alleviate some of the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis, the US government has issued new federal stimulus legislation, called the CARES Act. As part of this stimulus package, the government is preparing to send out direct payments to help individuals amid the pandemic. Many seniors may be wondering if they are eligible to receive a stimulus payment; if so, for how much; and what, if anything, they need to do in order to get the funds.

Who is eligible?

The legislation will give single adults with adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less on their 2019 tax returns a one-time check for $1,200. Married couples who filed jointly with incomes under $150,000 will receive $2,400. Families will get an additional $500 for each child.

For individuals with income above this amount, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000 threshold. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible for the stimulus payment.

Individuals who are collecting Social Security benefits for retirement, disability, or Supplemental Security Income are eligible for the stimulus payments.

I am not typically required to file a tax return because my income is low, so I didn't for 2018 or 2019. Can I still receive my payment?

Yes. For the many low-income seniors who are not required to file a federal tax return the CARES Act provides that the IRS to get information from the Social Security Administration about where to send your check. Folks who receive Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security Disability benefits, and/or SSI benefits will not have to take any action to receive their stimulus payment.

How Will I Receive My Payment?

The IRS will send the payments either electronically through direct deposit into people's bank accounts if that is how they receive their tax refunds or their Social Security or SSI benefits. If you receive refunds or benefits by paper check, you will receive your stimulus money by paper check. If you receive benefits on a Direct Express card it is not yet clear whether you will receive your stimulus money on the card or through a paper check.

For those who do not already have their bank account information on record with the IRS or SSA, the IRS says it is planning to develop “in the coming weeks” a web-based portal where individuals could provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.

When will I receive the stimulus money?

Direct deposits should begin within the next few weeks, and checks will be mailed later.

I have a tax filing obligation but have not filed my tax return for 2018 or 2019. Can I still receive an economic impact payment?

Yes. The IRS urges anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as they can to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return in order to receive the payment more quickly.

Will this stimulus money knock me off my other federal benefits like SNAP or Medicaid or HUD?

No. The CARES Act provides that this money is not countable income for 12 months after you receive it for any federal, state, or local programs that are funded in whole or in part with federal funds.

For the more info regarding stimulus payments visit:

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know

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