After much debate on both sides, the government has passed a $2 trillion bill — the CARES Act — that will provide economic relief for millions of Americans. The bill is a massive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, earmarking funds for small businesses, hospitals, and more. It also changes the current protocol on early retirement withdrawals and student loan payments.
However, most of us have been closely following this bill because of its potential to directly and immediately impact our personal finances with a stimulus check.
Most Americans will be receiving a stimulus check, but the amount you’ll receive depends on a few factors. If you already filed your 2019 tax return, the Internal Revenue Service will use those numbers to calculate your potential check. If you haven’t, don’t worry — the IRS can use your 2018 tax return to calculate your check. By the way, the filing and payment deadline for your federal taxes has been extended until July 15th, so you have time if you haven’t filed yet.
The size of your check will vary based on your income. The Washington Post has an easy online calculator for estimating your potential check, but generally, you will receive the full amount of $1,200 if you have a social security number, made under $75,000, and were not claimed as a dependent on last year’s taxes. If you earned more than $75,000 but less than $98,000, you’ll receive a smaller check based on your income.
As reported by The Washington Post, married couples can receive the full $2,400 stimulus check if they make under $150,000 combined. If you file as head of household, you can receive the $1,200 payment if you make under $112,500. Those with qualifying incomes and qualifying children under 17 can expect an additional $500.
There are a lot of misconceptions circulating about this stimulus check, so let’s clear the air. No, it is not taxable. Yes, citizens abroad with social security numbers are also eligible for the check. If you’re a dependent, meaning someone else claimed you as a dependent on their tax return, then you are, unfortunately, not eligible.
These times are unprecedented and challenging — last week alone, over 6.5 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. If you find yourself facing layoffs, file an unemployment benefits claim within your state — you’ll likely benefit from the stimulus bill’s protocols for the unemployed. The stimulus bill provides eligible workers with $600 weekly on top of their state’s compensation. You can check out this great FAQ from The New York Times to see if you qualify, but generally, “if you are unemployed, partly unemployed or unable to work because your employer closed down” you’re eligible to receive the additional federal compensation.
While there are tough times ahead, this bill is meant to help relieve Americans and the economy. The hope is that the stimulus check, and additional unemployment benefits, can keep Americans afloat during this disruptive time.
Simplicity Bryan is deeply entrenched in the worlds of self-help, gratitude, personal finance, and organization. She’s happiest paddleboarding with her pup and storytelling with a purpose. You can follow her here.
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