Stimulus Check Update: An IRS Reminder That This Group Is Eligible for Another Stimulus Payment

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  • Those who died in 2021 may be eligible for a stimulus check.
  • Claiming the stimulus check is a simple process.

It's not too late to claim stimulus payments for someone who has passed away.

It's been nearly 11 months since President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, designed to help Americans cope with an economy shuttered by COVID-19. One part of the plan involved depositing $1,400 checks into the bank accounts of most Americans.

The problem is that 2021 was a year of upheaval, and for some, a third stimulus check was the least of their worries. According to the IRS, anyone who died during 2021 without receiving a $1,400 stimulus payment is still due one. As long as they passed away between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021, their estate can file for stimulus funds owed.

Who's responsible?

The person responsible for preparing the decedent's tax return also requests any stimulus funds not paid. If each of the following applies, they are eligible for payment:

  • The decedent was a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien
  • The decedent was not claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer's return
  • The decedent had a Social Security number

To collect the entire $1,400, the person must have met these income guidelines:

Filing Status Income Payment Phases Out Entirely Between --
Single Up to $75,000 $75,000 and $80,000
Head of household Up to $112,500 $112,500 and $120,000
Joint filers Up to $150,000 $150,000 and $160,000
Widows and widowers Up to $150,000 $150,000 and $160,000

If you file for an individual who died in 2021, the IRS suggests you complete the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet to determine whether the decedent is eligible for the funds.

If the person owes 2021 taxes, the Recovery Rebate Credit will reduce the amount owed. If they're due the payment, it will be included in their tax refund and can be directly deposited into a bank account.

What happens to the payment?

Any recovered stimulus payments are added to other funds left when the person died. For example, if they had money in investment and bank accounts, stimulus funds should be added to the rest of their money. Whether or not the estate goes through probate, the money made available is to be distributed as outlined in the will or directed by the probate court.

How to know if your loved one received a check

Making arrangements for anyone following their death can be a challenge, particularly if they did not leave you with sufficient instructions. If you're trying to settle the affairs of someone who left you with little financial information to go by, you may not be sure if they received a stimulus payment in 2021.

There are a couple of ways to find out. The first (and easiest) can be managed if the decedent left you a list of their online passwords and has an online account with the IRS. If that's the case, you can log on to learn if (and when) payment was sent.

If you don't have access to their online IRS account but do have access to their most commonly used bank account, run through the ledger to see if there was a $1,400 deposit last spring. If it was directly deposited, there will be an "IRS TREAS" notation in the description.

It is challenging to lose someone you care about, especially when you're left with dozens of small tasks that remind you of your loss. With tax season upon us, though, see this as your opportunity to claim money your loved one is due.

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