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Stimulus Checks: How Much Will Social Security Beneficiaries Receive?

By Katie Brockman - Jan 8, 2021 at 6:03AM

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Will you receive $600, $2,000, or nothing at all?

After months of negotiation, Congress finally passed a new coronavirus relief bill. Now, millions of Americans are eagerly awaiting a second stimulus check.

Back in the spring, lawmakers passed the CARES Act, which included a stimulus payment of up to $1,200 per person. The new relief bill is similar to the CARES Act in many ways, but there are a few key differences.

If you're currently retired or receiving Social Security benefits, here's what you need to know about the next stimulus check.

Stimulus stamp on cash and a check

Image source: Getty Images.

How much could you receive?

At roughly $900 billion, this new relief bill is substantially smaller than the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. How much Americans could expect to receive in stimulus money -- and whether stimulus checks would be included in the relief bill at all -- was a hotly debated topic for months.

Currently, Congress has agreed to stimulus payments of $600 per person, or $1,200 for married couples. In addition, you can also receive an additional $600 for each eligible dependent.

However, there is a slim chance that payments could increase to $2,000 per person. President Trump had initially threatened to veto the relief bill if it didn't include $2,000 stimulus checks, and several other lawmakers are also pushing for larger payments.

On Dec. 28, lawmakers introduced a new bill, the CASH Act, which included $2,000 checks. The bill passed in the House of Representatives, but was blocked in the Senate when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow a vote. A new session of Congress will begin on Jan. 3, though, which could potentially breathe new life into the now-dead bill.

Are Social Security beneficiaries eligible for stimulus checks?

The IRS has already begun depositing $600 checks into bank accounts across the country. The good news is that, like under the CARES Act, retirees and Social Security beneficiaries are eligible to receive a second stimulus check -- even if you didn't file 2019 taxes.

However, the income limits that determine exactly how much you'll receive have changed slightly. To receive the full stimulus payment, you must have an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 per year (for individuals), $112,500 per year (for heads of household), or $150,000 per year (for married couples filing jointly).

These numbers are the same as under the CARES Act. The difference is in the phase-out limits, which is when your payment will be reduced or withheld entirely depending on your income.

Tax Filing Status AGI to Receive Full Payment AGI to Phase Out of Payment
Individual $75,000 or less $87,000 or more
Head of household $112,500 or less $124,500 or more
Married filing jointly $150,000 or less $174,000 or more

Data source: IRS. AGI = adjusted gross income. 

So, for example, if you're filing as an individual with an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 per year, you'll receive the full $600 payment. If you're earning between $75,000 and $87,000 per year, you'll receive a check for less than $600. And if you're earning more than $87,000 per year, you won't receive a check at all.

With a second stimulus check on the way, most seniors can expect to receive a $600 payment sometime in the next several weeks, if timelines are similar to those under the CARES Act. Although $2,000 checks don't appear likely right now, an extra $600 can still make a difference during retirement.

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