As most of the country continues to experience a shutdown, many Americans have been left wondering what to do.
Most states, countries or cities have ordered non-essential businesses to close down, leaving many people with smaller paychecks or no paychecks at all.
Fortunately, many Americans should be receiving a stimulus check for up to $1200 within the next few weeks if they have not received it already. This is part of an economic stimulus package created by the CARES Act.
It was recently created by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump. It’s officially called the Economic Impact Payment. Some refer to it informally as the Trump stimulus check.
Americans who filed their taxes electronically have already started receiving their stimulus checks by direct deposit during the week of April 13. Those who filed taxes by mail will receive paper checks that will be mailed starting April 24.
Learn more about qualifying for a stimulus check, how much you can get and more in the sections below.
The main goal of this plan is to stimulate the economy and give aid to workers who are experiencing drastic pay cuts or unemployment due to business closures and social distancing.
Unlike other government programs like food stamps and welfare, which require you to apply and get approved before receiving the aid, there is no application required for the stimulus check. Additionally, there are no limitations on what you can do with this money.
You should receive the full $1,200 stimulus payment if you are:
You should receive a combined check for the full $2,400 payment if you are a married couple that earns $150,000 or less.
Other people qualify for a reduced payment that is less than $1,200 (or less than $2,400 for a married couple). You may be eligible for a reduced payment if you are:
How will the payment be reduced? If you earn $100 over the full amount limit mentioned above, you will receive $5 less in your check. This $5 reduction will continue for every $100 you earn over the limit.
Additionally, families will get an additional $500 for qualifying dependent children younger than 17.
You do not have to take any action to receive your payment. The IRS will automatically determine your eligibility. If you are eligible, you will receive the check by mail or through direct deposit into your bank account.
After the IRS sends you the money, it will also send you a letter in the mail letting you know the check was disbursed. The letter will also tell you where the check was sent. If this confirmation letter shows an error (like the check going to your previous address), you should reach out to the IRS to make sure you get your payment.
The $1,200 stimulus check from the CARES Act is a one-time payment. However, some members of Congress are proposing a second stimulus plan. This plan would offer monthly payments of $2,000 for at least six months.
Keep in mind that nothing has been signed into law just yet, and the amount or number of months can change.
In the meantime, the CARES act has made it easier for you to qualify for unemployment benefits. It also has increased the amount of unemployment money you can get each week.
If you have lost your job, had your hours reduced or are unable to work for other reasons, you should apply for unemployment benefits through your state’s unemployment agency.
Also notes that the CARES Act provides other types of helpful relief, including: