Over 100 million Americans have already been sent a stimulus payment that's meant to provide relief during the COVID-19 crisis. Those stimulus payments are worth up to $1,200 per adult, and up to $500 per child under the age of 17.

Eligibility for those payments hinges on the adjusted gross income (AGI) you reported on either your 2018 or 2019 tax return. Many Americans haven't yet filed a tax return for 2019, since the deadline to do so was pushed back to July 15 due to the pandemic. You're entitled to a full stimulus if your AGI for either year didn't exceed:

  • $75,000 as a single tax filer
  • $112,500 as a head of household
  • $150,000 as a married couple filing jointly

If your earnings exceeded these thresholds, you may still have some money coming to you. Stimulus payments are reduced by $5 per $100 your AGI is over your respective limit based on your tax-filing status, but if you're, say, a single tax-filer earning $77,000, you still have the bulk of that stimulus coming your way. And remember, you're entitled to money for a dependent child under 17, so even if your personal payment is wiped out by too high an AGI, you may still have some money coming to you.

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But if the IRS doesn't have direct deposit information for you on file, you could end up waiting a very long time to receive your stimulus payment -- as long as September, in fact. Therefore, if you haven't yet registered your bank account details with the IRS, now's the time to get moving.

Act fast to avoid stimulus delays

In April, the IRS unveiled a new tool that allows Americans to enter their bank account details to receive their stimulus money directly. For many people, this step isn't necessary because the IRS already has those details on file for a recent tax refund. But for those who didn't get a refund in 2018 or 2019, or who haven't filed a tax return for those years and don't plan to, the IRS tool is a great way to avoid the delays that come with waiting on a paper check.

Because the IRS can only send out so many checks per week, it's estimated that some Americans could wind up waiting until September to get their money -- unless they register bank account details via the new tool. But you only have until noon on Wed, May 13 to submit that information. If you don't, you'll have to sit tight and wait for a paper check to arrive in the mail.

Given the number of Americans who are struggling financially due to the ongoing crisis, it stands to reason that those entitled to a stimulus payment would, generally speaking, prefer to get that money sooner rather than later. If you fall into that camp, don't delay in sharing your bank account details with the IRS so you don't wind up waiting months for a sum of money you might really need right now.