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Congress has passed two stimulus payments. The first payment was issued during 2020. The second stimulus payment is being issued in early 2021. If you qualified for a stimulus payment but you didn’t get one, or you did not get a stimulus payment for your minor children, you can file a tax return this year and use the Recovery Rebate Credit to get your payments.
Who is eligible for stimulus payments?
You should get a stimulus payment automatically if no one else claimed you as a dependent on their tax return, you have a Social Security number, and
- you filed your 2018 and/or 2019 income tax returns and you met the income guidelines to qualify;
- you get Social Security Retirement, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Railroad Retirement or Survivor Benefits, or Veteran’s Compensation and Pension Benefits.
You will either get a deposit in your bank account or a check in the mail.
What are the income guidelines to qualify for the stimulus payments?
You are eligible if your gross income during the last year you filed your taxes was
- $75,000 or less and you are a single person,
- $112,500 or less and you are head of household,
- $150,000 or less and you are married filing jointly without children; or
- $150,000 or less and you are married filing jointly with children.
Your stimulus payment will be lower if you earn more than the amounts above.
NOTE: Your stimulus payment does not count as income or a resource for any public benefit programs like TFA, Medicaid, or SNAP. It also does not count as income in calculating rent for the state Rental Assistance Program (RAP), any state-funded housing, federal public housing, Section 8, or any federally-assisted housing.
Who won’t get the SECOND stimulus payment?
You won’t get the second payment if
- you are a non-citizen who is not authorized to work in the United States;
- someone else claimed you as a dependent on their tax return;
- the IRS doesn’t know about you because you do not get any kind of federal income benefits and you did not file taxes for 2018 or 2019*; or
- your income is too high.
* If you have very low income (less than $12,200) and you normally do not have to file a tax return, you will need to file one this year and use the Recovery Rebate Credit to claim your missed payment.
I didn’t get the FIRST Economic Impact Payment. What can I do?
If you were eligible for a 2020 payment but you did not get one, you can claim it when you file your 2020 taxes this year. This is called the Recovery Rebate Credit and there will be a space for it on your tax return.
Note: If you get Social Security Retirement, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Railroad Retirement or Survivor Benefits, or Veteran’s Compensation and Pension Benefits and you have dependents under age 17, you needed to file a simple return last year to get the stimulus benefits for your dependents. If you missed that deadline, you can claim the additional benefit by filing a 2020 tax return this year and using the Recovery Rebate Credit.
What if I am not a citizen or I am filing jointly with someone who is not a citizen?
If you were denied the first stimulus payment because one spouse was not a citizen but they have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), you will be able to claim the first stimulus payment when you file their 2020 taxes using the Recovery Rebate Credit.
The IRS says my stimulus payment was deposited into my bank account, but I don’t have it. What can I do?
Visit the IRS website to check on the status of your stimulus payment.
Where to file taxes in 2021
You can file a simple tax return at https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free, or use one of the free, IRS-approved preparation sites: