*Originally posted on Dec. 30th, 2020. Updated Jan. 8th, 2021*
In late December, lawmakers passed a coronavirus relief package that provides essential economic relief for millions of workers and people with low incomes. One component of the package is a second round of economic stimulus payments. See below for general FAQs regarding the payment. Additionally, we have FAQs regarding “Mixed-Immigration Status Families and the Stimulus Payment,” “Distribution of the Second Stimulus Payment,” and “How to Claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.”
Who is eligible for the second stimulus payment?
Generally, if you’re a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien, you may be eligible for $600 ($1,200 for a joint return), plus $600 for each qualifying child, if you (and your spouse if filing a joint return) aren’t a dependent of another taxpayer on a 2019 tax return, have a social security number (SSN) valid for employment (see exception when married filing joint) and your adjusted gross income (AGI) does not exceed:
- $150,000 if married and filing a joint return or if filing as a qualifying widow or widower;
- $112,500 if filing as head of household; or
- $75,000 for eligible individuals using any other filing status
- Your payment will be reduced by 5% of the amount by which your AGI exceeds the applicable threshold above.
You aren’t eligible for a payment if any of the following apply to you:
- You were claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s 2019 tax return (for example, a child or student who may be claimed on a parent’s tax return or a dependent parent who may be claimed on an adult child’s tax return).
- You don’t have a Social Security number that is valid for employment issued before the due date of your 2019 tax return (including any extensions).
- You’re a nonresident alien.
- People who died before 2020.
- Are an estate or trust.
What is meant by a Social Security number that is valid for employment?
A valid Social Security number for the second stimulus payment is one that is valid for employment in the United States and is issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) before the due date of your 2019 tax return (including the filing deadline postponement to July 15 and an extension to October 15 if you requested it).
If you were a U.S. citizen when you received the Social Security number, then it’s valid for employment. If “Not Valid for Employment” is printed on your Social Security card and your immigration status has changed so that you are now a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, ask the SSA for a new Social Security card. However, if “Valid for Work Only With DHS Authorization” is printed on your Social Security card, you have the required Social Security number only if the Department of Homeland Security authorization is valid.
How much will the second stimulus payment be?
The second stimulus payment will be $600 per qualifying adult ($1,200 for married taxpayers filing a joint return) and $600 per child under 17 years old. Children who are 17 years old and older as well as other dependents are not eligible for the $600 second stimulus payment.
What do I need to do to get my payment?
No action is necessary. Your payment will be issued based on the information the IRS has on file for your 2019 tax return, the information provided by you to the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool, payment information entered on the Get My Payment tool, or information provided by a Federal Agency that issued benefits to you (Social Security Administration, Veteran Affairs, or Railroad Retirement Board). (If you don’t get a payment and you are eligible to receive one, it may be claimed as a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.)
Will the Non-Filers tool be available if I’m not required to file and didn’t use it before November 22, 2020?
No. The Non-Filers tool is no longer available. (If you are eligible for a second stimulus payment and don’t get one, the payment may be claimed as a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.)
What tax year will the IRS look to in determining my eligibility for the second stimulus payment?
The IRS will look to the 2019 tax year to make eligibility determinations for the second stimulus payment.
Will I need to pay the second stimulus payment back to the IRS at some point and will the payment affect my eligibility for other tax credits?
You will not need to pay the second stimulus payment back to the IRS because the payments are an advance against a new credit for tax year 2020 and these payments will not affect your eligibility for other tax credits.
I’m a college student, can I receive the $600 second stimulus payment if I can be claimed as someone else’s dependent?
You can’t receive the $600 second stimulus payment if you can be claimed as someone else’s dependent. You can be claimed as someone else’s dependent based on your relationship to the filer, your age, whether you lived with your parents for more than half of the year, and whether you were financially independent for more than half of the year, among other factors. This will affect many full-time college students under age 24. However, it’s important to review the rules, since not all college students are dependents. (People who were dependents in 2019, but not 2020, can claim both stimulus payments as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return.)
Do I need earned income to qualify for a second stimulus payment?
You don’t need to have earned income to qualify. The second stimulus payment is available to those with little to no income. Even if you are making $0, you can still receive the full payment. The second stimulus payments phase out at higher income levels, starting at $75,000 for single filers. The phase-out rates are the same between the first and second round of payments – $5 for every $100 that you made above the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limit – but because the second stimulus payments are smaller, some people who received a partial payment in the first round won’t get one this time.
Will the second stimulus payment affect my eligibility for public benefits?
Like other tax refunds, the second stimulus payment will not count toward eligibility for means-tested programs and will be disregarded as an asset for 12 months. This means the second stimulus payment won’t jeopardize your participation in programs including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and public housing.
Is the second stimulus payment treated as taxable income?
No, the second stimulus payment is not considered taxable income.
Is an incarcerated individual eligible for the second stimulus payment?
Yes, individuals will not be denied a second stimulus payment solely because they are incarcerated. An incarcerated individual may be issued a payment if all eligibility requirements are met and the individual filed a 2019 tax return that was processed by the IRS or used the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool prior to November 22, 2020. (Incarcerated individuals who don’t get a second stimulus payment and are eligible to receive one, may claim a Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 tax return. They can also claim the first stimulus payment as a Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 tax return.)
Can the second stimulus payment be intercepted?
The second stimulus payment can’t be intercepted for past-due taxes, student loans, Unemployment Insurance over-payments, or for child support that is owed (the first stimulus payment was subject to seizure for outstanding child support).
Where can I get more information?
For more information about Economic Impact Payments and the 2020 Recovery Rebate, key information will be posted on IRS.gov/eip. Later this week, you may check the status of your payment at IRS.gov/GetMyPayment. For other COVID-19-related tax relief, visit IRS.gov/Coronavirus.