Millions of Americans are suddenly out of work or working greatly reduced hours due to lockdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic and wondering how they will pay next month's bills.
That's why President Donald Trump and Congress are rushing to pass a $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill that will include a $1,200 check for most adults in the United States.
But who qualifies? And when will they arrive?
Although the House of Representatives still needs to pass the bill, here is what it includes according to an analysis by CNBC Business News.
Q: Who qualifies for a stimulus check?
Under the current plan, 90% of adults should qualify for an initial $1,200 stimulus payment, with a second payment possible later this spring.
- Individuals will receive a check for $1,200.
- Married couples will receive a check for $2,400.
- Each dependent child will receive $500 (payable to their parents).
Among those who qualify is Carlish Landry.
Landry and her husband work to provide for their children who are now stuck at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm actually saving for paying bills just in case I get laid off at the hospital or something like that," said Landry.
Veterans, those with disabilities, and people on social security will also qualify, which would help someone like Dustin Walker, who takes care of his elderly parents.
"My parents are on a fixed income, so they depend a lot on me to fill in that void where they can't [provide] for themselves," explained Walker.
Q: Who does not qualify for a check?
High-income individuals will not receive a check. Benefits will phase out for those earning more than $75,000 in income.
Single people earning more than $99,000 in 2019 will not receive any check. Married couples earning more than $198,000 in 2019 will not receive any check.
Q: What if you owe back child support or owe the IRS back taxes?
Such payments are not directly linked to the IRS, so it does not appear the government will take anything out of stimulus checks for unpaid taxes or support, but the final version of the bill could change.
Q: What if you don't file taxes?
Seniors on Social Security and younger people on disability will qualify for a check.
However, those people must have filed taxes last year or this spring. Those stimulus checks will be based on 2018 or 2019 tax returns. That means if those who are low-income and typically do not file must file a 1040 form this spring, or the government has no way of knowing if those people qualify. According to the AARP, If you are receiving Social Security benefits but didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019, you would be eligible to receive a stimulus check without a tax return based on data available to the IRS from your annual Social Security benefits statement. The government would send you a check using the information from your Form SSA-1099 Social Security Benefit Statement or your Form RRB-1099 Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement. You would not have to file a 2019 tax return to get a stimulus check.
Q: What if some of your income is unreported cash?
That should not affect the checks, as they are based on your last tax return.
Q: When will I receive my money?
Checks should be mailed to the address the IRS has on file, or possibly be deposited directly into the account used for a person's last tax refund. Details have not yet been finalized.
Congressional leaders hope to have the first checks in the mail or into bank accounts by the second week of April.
"I'm just really excited about the fact that the Senate finally made a deal," said Jason Bollich, who qualifies for the check. "Hopefully, it will pass through the House, and we can get everything rolling."
As always, don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)
For more consumer news and money-saving advice, go to www.dontwasteyourmoney.com