The proliferation of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has presented the United States with a series of never-before-seen challenges. With more than 1 million confirmed cases leading to over 58,000 deaths, most U.S. states have had little choice but to shut down nonessential businesses and enforce stay-at-home orders to stem transmission of the disease. But doing so has led to the loss of more than 26 million jobs and put a decisive end to the longest economic expansion in history.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers on Capitol Hill passed, and President Trump signed, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act into law on March 27. The CARES Act, the largest economic stimulus package ever signed into law at $2.2 trillion, sets aside money for distressed industries, hospitals, small business loans, and the unemployment benefits program.
However, what's mostly caught the attention of the American public is the $300 billion directed toward stimulus payouts to working Americans and seniors.
The two big questions likely on everyone's minds are:
- Will I receive any stimulus money? And if so...
- When will I receive my stimulus check?
The answer to the first question largely depends on three factors, while the answer to the second question may depend on knowing a number of key stimulus check dates.
Will I receive stimulus money?
According to estimates, some 140 million American households and 175 million people will qualify for an Economic Impact Payment, as these payouts are officially known. The maximum disbursement for individual taxpayers is $1,200, with married couples filing jointly able to receive $2,400. Qualifying children aged 16 and under can also add $500 to a parent's or household's stimulus total. And yes, senior citizens receiving Social Security or Supplement Security Income (SSI) are eligible for a payout.
Determining whether or not you'll receive a stimulus check boils down to your adjusted gross income (AGI) in your most recent tax filing (2018 or 2019), your tax-filing status, and your citizenship.
In order to receive the full payment amount, you'll need to have an AGI of less than $75,000 as a single filer, $150,000 as a couple filing jointly, and $112,500 as a head-of-household filer. Conversely, single, married, and head-of-household filers with AGI's above $99,000, $198,000, and $136,500, are respectively disqualified from receiving an Economic Impact Payment. If you happened to earn in-between these upper and lower income bounds, your payout will be reduced by $5 per $100 in AGI above the lower bound.
Aside from income, two other disqualifying factors include being a dependent aged 17 and older – this includes being a senior dependent who receives a Social Security benefit each month – and being an undocumented worker without a legal pathway to citizenship. Although green-card holders are likely to receive an Economic Impact Payment, undocumented workers with no concrete pathway to citizenship will be denied a payout.
Three key stimulus check dates senior citizens need to know
Now that you have a better idea of whether or not you'll be receiving stimulus money, the question turns to when you'll actually get it.
According to recent data from the Treasury Department, roughly 88 million Americans have already received $157.9 billion in stimulus money via direct deposit. But that still leaves roughly half of all eligible Americans without their Economic Impact Payment.
In particular, it leaves a lot of older Americans wondering where their stimulus money is. If you're a Social Security, SSI, or Veterans benefit recipient who's anxiously checking your bank account or mailbox and wondering when your payment will arrive, perhaps these three key dates from the Treasury Department may offer some clues.
- April 29: According to a spokeswoman from the Treasury Department, Social Security beneficiaries, survivor benefit recipients, and non-filing disabled workers receiving benefits, should begin to receive direst deposit stimulus checks on April 29. It could take a few days for all of these payouts to be disbursed, but understand that you should have your Economic Impact Payment within the next couple of days (if not already).
- May 5: If you received SSI or Veterans Affairs benefits and didn't have to file a federal tax return in 2018 or 2019, you have until May 5 to use the non-filers tool on the Internal Revenue Services' website to be eligible to receive the $500 kicker for being a dependent to a qualifying child aged 16 and under. If you wind up missing the deadline for adding dependent children, you'll have to wait until next year's tax filing to collect the $500 stimulus per child.
- "Early May": People receiving SSI who have not filed a federal tax return due to low income in 2018 or 2019, as well as folks receiving Veterans benefits, should begin receiving their stimulus payouts via direct deposit in early May, according to the Treasury Department. Similar to Social Security disbursements, these Economic Impact Payouts may take a few days to hit the bank accounts of all SSI and Veteran benefit recipients.
It's worth noting that if you currently receive your government benefit in the form of a check, as opposed to a direct deposit, it can take up to 14 days to receive a paper check, once issued.
Additionally, Social Security beneficiaries and Railroad Retirement recipients who have a qualifying dependent aged 16 or under have missed the April 22 deadline to provide their information to claim the extra $500 per child. Unless lawmakers choose to extend the deadline, seniors will have to wait until they file their 2020 tax year return to claim this payout.
The point is that if you're a senior who's currently receiving a government benefit, your payout should be arriving any day now.