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With President Trump signing the massive $2.2. trillion coronavirus stimulus bill last week after it sped through Congress, many Americans will soon receive a much-needed handout from the government in the form of cash payments of up to $1,200 per person.
The amount of money each individual will receive from the federal government will vary depending on one’s income, marital status and number of children – for more on that CLICK HERE – but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said over the weekend that he hopes to have the money sent out in the next three weeks (although some experts say it could take much longer given the scale of the payments and how long previous stimulus checks took to arrive in the mail.)
While it is fairly straightforward for Americans to figure out how much money they will receive from the federal government, how they will get the money is a little less clear. To clear up some confusion, Fox News has answered some of the most pressing questions about how Americans will receive their stimulus money.
How do I get my money? Do I need to apply to receive my payment?
The stimulus checks, much like a tax refund, will be handled by the Internal Revenue Service and all you have to have done is file your taxes electronically to have the money transferred to your bank account via direct deposit.
If you have filed a paper copy of your taxes or have closed the bank account used to receive previous tax refunds, the government will send a check in the mail. If you have moved since you last filed your taxes, remember to submit a change of address form, which normally takes four to six weeks to process, in order to have the check sent to the correct residence.
The best way to make sure your money arrives as quickly as possible is to file your 2018 tax return as quickly as possible. This is especially true for people who lost a job in the last year as this could put you in a position to qualify to receive more money.
Due to the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the IRS has also extended the deadline to file taxes until July 15. It has also set up a website a special coronavirus landing page to answer questions, although the site currently says “Stimulus payment checks: No information available yet. No sign-up needed. Instead of calling, please check back for updates.”
How will I know when I’ve received the stimulus money?
According to the text of the bill, Americans will receive a note in the mail – another reason to update you address information – informing them of where the payment ended up and in what form it was made. The paper notice should arrive no more than a few weeks after the money was disbursed.
If you’re having trouble locating the money – either in your bank account or via a check in the mail – there will be information regarding how to contact the IRS in the note mailed to you.
What if I don’t have an income or haven’t filed a tax return?
While most Americans are required to file a tax return, certain law wage workers and people with no income will at the time need to fill out a 1040-EZ form. While you’re not legally required to do so, the short form could help you get your stimulus check from the government.
My recent income makes me ineligible to receive a check, but I lost my job and anticipate being eligible in 2020. Can I get a check?
Unfortunately, at the time, the federal government is using Americans’ most recent tax returns. So if you filed your return when you were making $99,000 or more you won’t be receiving a check even if you’ve recently lost your job.
As the checks are basically an advance on a tax credit that is available for the entire year, you may qualify to receive one once you file your 2020 tax return next year as long as you don’t make $99,000 or more.
The stimulus bill also provides other ways for individuals to receive some financial help from the federal government, especially if you’re an independent contractor or a small business owner. There are numerous loans for small business owners or sole proprietors, and you can also file for unemployment benefits with your state.
I receive social security or disability payments, do I get a check? I’m a veteran, what about me? I live abroad, can I still get a check?
The answer to all those questions is yes, although Americans living abroad will still have to meet the income requirements and have a Social Security number.
I’m a college student, do I get a check?
If your parents claim you as a dependent, then no, but they will receive an extra $500 for each child they have.