SPOKANE, Wash. — Many KREM viewers have written to us with questions about a $2.2 trillion relief package that was approved by the House on Friday.
The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday night. President Donald Trump has said he will sign the legislation when it hits his desk.
The bill would provide one-time direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per individual adults and $2,400 for married couples and an additional $500 for each eligible child.
The full amount will be available for individuals making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000 annually. The amount a person receives will phase out if they earn more, ending for those earning more than $99,000 annually.
Some of the top questions KREM has received: Will I get a stimulus check if I receive Social Security or I’m on disability? What about those who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019?
News outlets are reporting that U.S. citizens receiving Social Security as well as retirees are eligible for the money.
As far as those who did not file tax returns, the answer is a bit more unclear.
KREM broke down the answers to these questions with information from Fortune and Kiplinger Magazines, as well as Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin.
Will Social Security beneficiaries receive checks?
According to the Fortune Magazine, the proposed bill includes language that allows people who receive Social Security – many of whom are retired and do not file taxes – to receive money from the stimulus package.
In such cases, the government would access their data through the Social Security Administration to determine their rebate.
Retirees and people on disability are both eligible to receive money, according to the Washington Post.
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) clarified in an email to that if you’re on Supplemental Security Income, you’re eligible to receive a check if you file taxes. If you’re a dependent of someone else, the person claiming you would get an additional $500. He said the IRS will come out with guidance to clarify this.
What if I didn’t file a tax return for 2018 or 2019?
Some people did not file tax returns for 2018 or 2019 because their income did not reach the filing requirement threshold.
According to Kiplinger Magazine, the IRS can pull information from a 2019 Social Security Benefit Statement or Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement it does not have your tax returns from these years to calculate your stimulus check amount.
But what does this mean for those who did not receive Social Security or other retirement benefits in 2019?
Kiplinger reports that it is unclear right now what will happen in the situation but, at this point, there is a chance that you could receive a stimulus check.
Kiplinger does recommend, though, that people in this position may want to file their 2019 tax returns quickly. You can still file a return even if you will not get a refund and do not owe any tax.
For the stimulus checks in 2008, the IRS told people to file a return showing just $1 of income and at least $1 of adjusted gross income – even if you did not have it.
Those who get their return in before the IRS starts processing their stimulus payments should get a check.
In a call with reporters on Friday, Washington Sen. Patty Murray says she believes people who don't file tax returns or get federal benefits will soon be able to file a new form through the IRS in order to make sure they get stimulus direct payments.
What happens if I don’t get a check now?
Kiplinger reports that those who don’t get a check now won’t lose out on the money – they’ll just have to wait until next year to get it.
As the bill is written right now, checks that will be sent now are actually just advanced payments of a new refundable tax credit for the 2020 tax year.
If you do not get a stimulus payment in 2020, you can claim it next year as a refund or reduction of the tax you owe if you file a 2020 tax return by April 15, 2021.
Will the money I get be taxed later?
No. The check you receive is really just an advanced payment of a tax credit for the 2020 tax year, according to Kiplinger. It won't be included in your taxable income.
And no, you will not have to repay the money. It is a direct payment given to help Americans through tough economic times and yours to keep.
How will you receive this rebate?
The bill says you will receive this payment electronically to any account you’ve authorized to receive federal tax refunds. That means it will be a direct deposit to an account you file taxes with. However, if the IRS doesn't have that direct deposit info, people may need to wait a lot longer to get a check.
The bill didn’t specify the exact timing on when you should get this money. It simply said the Secretary of the Treasury should distribute the rebates “as rapidly as possible.”
The Tax Policy Center noted that in 2008 there was a gap of about three months between passage of the stimulus legislation and the start-up of payments. Additionally, the IRS had worked for three months before enactment of advance payments of tax rate reductions in 2001 and child tax credits in 2003.
And your census participation won’t matter.
The Census Bureau debunked this and said, “Your answers cannot be used to impact your eligibility for any government benefits, including any potential stimulus package.”