Stimulus Checks 2020: Do You Get $1,200?

*This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure

UPDATE 05/01/20:
– IRS “Get My Payment App” updated on 4/26, enter your direct deposit info
– New “Plus $500 Push” for Social Security Recipients to get credit for qualifying children
– Updated schedule for mailing of checks here
Second Stimulus Check Proposed ($2,000 a month! Free Rent!)

The CARES Act passed on March 27th. It will send American taxpayers $1,200 stimulus checks starting in April 2020. It will also provide low-cost loans to corporations and small business struggling during this outbreak.

Taxpayers earning up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) per year would receive a $1,200 stimulus check, and payments go LOWER for those earning $76,000 – $99,000 ($198k for married couples) per year. If your tax filing status is Head of Household, the income limit is $112,500.

It also provides $500 per qualifying child (16 years old and under).

The FINAL copy of the bill can be found HERE.

Who Gets A Stimulus Check in 2020?

If you are under the adjust gross income limits on your 2019 tax return (or 2018 if no 2019 return filed yet), you would receive a check. You would also receive additional money if you have qualifying children (16 years old and under).

NEW: If you do NOT qualify for a check based on 2018/2019 income, but your income drops in 2020 below the thresholds, you are eligible to receive the rebate amount on your 2020 tax return.

Best Place To Stash Your Stimulus Cash?

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or compare the top high-yield savings accounts here

What Is My Adjusted Gross Income?

Adjusted Gross Income is your income after a few “above the line” deductions.

Jake, seriously, no one knows what the means…???

Ok, ok, fine. See the below screenshot. You can look at your 2018 (or 2019, if already filed) tax return, and on the 1040 tax form, it’s Line 8b.

1040 Form Adjusted Gross Income

What Are the Income Limits To Get A Stimulus Check?

Here are the specific income qualifications:

  • Income details based on 2019 tax return (or 2018 if no 2019 return filed yet)
  • If you are ABOVE the threshold in 2018/2019, but BELOW in 2020, you may be eligible for payment on your 2020 tax refund (more details later in this post).
  • Maximum Adjust Gross Income for individuals of $75,000 to get full check
  • Maximum Adjust Gross Income for married-filing-joint couples of $150,000 to get full check
  • Maximum Adjust Gross Income for Head of Household of $112,500 to get full check
  • Check reduced by 5% of amount of income exceeding $75,000 ($150,000 married-filing-joint, $112,500 Head of Household)
    • Meaning $50 less for every $1,000 over

If you earn $99,000 or more ($198,000 married-filing-joint), you would NOT receive the individual stimulus check. If you earn over $136,500 as Head of Household, you would NOT receive a check.

If you have a qualifying child (16 years old and under) , you will also receive additional money per child.

Who Doesn’t Get A Check?

Here’s a quick list of a few people that may not receive a stimulus check:

  • If your AGI is above the phaseout amount (but may still qualify for tax credit based on 2020 AGI)
  • If you are 17 or older, but claimed as a dependent by another on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns
  • If you don’t have a social security number, or adoption identification number (except military)
  • If your address or direct deposit info from your 2018 or 2019 tax return are inaccurate, the payment may not reach you
  • If you are behind on your child support payments, the stimulus money will pay for those first.

2020 Stimulus Check Cheat Sheets

Use the below table to see what your Estimate Stimulus Check will be.

Scroll down to find your check amount!

What If I Made Too Much Income, Can I Still Get A Stimulus Payment?

Yes. The latest bill allows taxpayers who are phased out due to earning too much money in 2018 or 2019 to be eligible if their earnings substantially decrease in 2020. Here’s how it works:

  • If you earned more than $99,000 adjusted gross income ($198,000 for married-filing-joint, or $136,500 for Head of Household) in 2018 / 2019, then you will NOT receive a check right now.
  • BUT, if your income in 2020 drops below the threshold, you are eligible to receive stimulus payment as part of your TAX REFUND on your 2020 tax return,

Example: Joe’s adjusted gross income is $100,000 in 2019, and gets no check. But in 2020, his AGI is under $75,000. He is entitled to receive the $1,200 rebate in his 2020 tax refund.

How Much Money Will I Get?

The current proposal gives specific amounts per qualifying taxpayer. Here’s a quick summary

  • $1,200 check sent to individual taxpayers who meet the income qualifications
  • $2,400 check sent to married-filing-joint couples who meet the income qualifications
  • $500 additional for each qualifying child (16 years old and under) in the household

If you earn over the income phaseout amount, you will receive $5 less per $100 AGI over. This includes the money for each child, meaning after you lose your $1,200 check, earning $100 more will also reduce your $500 per child check by $5.

Example; If your adjusted gross income for 2019 was $80,000, you are $5,000 over the income phaseout. That means your check would be reduced by $250. You would receive a $950 stimulus check.

Example 2; If Married Filing Joint with 2 kids and your adjusted gross income for 2019 was $218,000, you are $20,000 over the income phaseout. That means you would NOT receive the $2,400 (phased out at $198k), and you would also lose the $1,000 for your 2 kids. So no stimulus check.

Example Total Check

We are a family of 5, married-filing-joint and meet the income qualifications for a full check. We also have 3 qualifying children (16 years old and under) .

We would expect a $3,900 check from this stimulus.

$2,400 + $500 per child (3) = $3,900

When Will I Get My Stimulus Check?

Update: Check out my complete guide: Where Is My Stimulus Check?!

Those qualifying families expecting to receive a stimulus payment “who used direct deposit on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns” should start getting payments the week of April 13th, according to a blog post by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.

The second round of payments should come about 10 days after the first round of payments go out, and are for “Social Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019 and receive their Social Security benefits via direct deposit“, according to Dingell.

The third round of payments should start the week of May 4th, and includes issuing paper checks in “Adjust Gross Income” order, starting with the lowest income individuals according to their 2018 or 2019 tax returns.

According to the Washington Post, here’s what the total payment schedule *could* look like:

Stimulus Check Payment Schedule
Stimulus Check Payment Schedule

According to the Washington Post, the IRS will continue rolling out checks until possibly September.

If you do NOT use direct deposit on your tax return, and want payment quicker, check out the info below on the Get My Payment App.

IRS Web Portal For Non-Filers

The IRS has a new web portal to help those want to speed and track their stimulus payments.

There are 2 sections to this portal:

  1. Non-Filers Payment Info Form
  2. Get My Payment App

Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here

As of right now (4/10/20), on the Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here form is available. This form is for those who did NOT file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, to provide simple payment info to get your stimulus payment quickly.

According to the IRS, “You should use this application if:

  • You did not file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return because your gross income was under $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples). This includes people who had no income. Or
  • You weren’t required to file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return for other reasons

Information You will Need to Provide

  • Full name, current mailing address and an email address
  • Date of birth and valid Social Security number
  • Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one
  • Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one
  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one
  • For each qualifying child: name, Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse

Filers: Use The Get My Payment App

Update 05/01/20: The Get My Payment app was updated on 4/26, and now many users have been able to input their bank account information to get paid via direct deposit instead of waiting for a check in the mail.

The Get My Payment App is out, and can be used to check on your stimulus payment (and input your bank info)

Here’s how it will work:

Use the “Get My Payment” application to:

  • Check your payment status
  • Confirm your payment type: direct deposit or check
  • Enter your bank account information for direct deposit if we don’t have  your direct deposit information and we haven’t sent your payment yet

Direct deposit: Use the Get My Payment application to let us know your bank account information if we don’t have your direct deposit information and we haven’t sent your payment.

Check payment: If you moved since you last filed, let us know your new mailing address.

Bottom Line: If you are worried about waiting until mid-summer for your check to arrive, use the Get My Payment App to update your info and get direct deposit set up for faster payment.

Social Security and VA “Plus $500 Push”

If you receive Social Security or VA benefits, the IRS originally stated you wouldn’t need to do anything to receive your Stimulus Check.

But now they are in a PANIC about getting SSI and VA recipients their complete payment, because they realize that many SSI recipients do NOT file tax returns, and therefore the IRS does not know if they have any qualifying dependents.

The IRS released guidance on May 1st, that they are extending the ability for those on Social Security to use the “Non-Filers” tool mentioned above to input their info and info about their qualifying children to get their $500 per child.

They are calling it the “Plus $500 Push”, and are encouraing anyone on SSI or VA benefits who DID NOT file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, to use the tool so they get paid for their kids.

If you do NOT do this by the deadline of May 5th, 2020, you will need to wait to claim this on your 2020 tax return to receive the missing money.

Note: One caveat with this “non-filers” tool, it will NOT allow you to be paid by Direct Express. You will need to input bank account information, or simply be mailed a check.

Is This A One-Time Payment Or…?

As it stands, this is currently a one-time payment. Trump as stated on numerous occasions that this may NOT be the only check that is sent out, but that is still too be seen.

Update: Nancy Pelosi is calling for a 2nd round of Stimulus Checks

The new unemployment and paid sick leave benefits should also provide much-needed funds to qualified workers for longer-term financial relief.

Do I Have To Pay Back My Stimulus Check?

The latest bill has changed the wording of the stimulus payments, and it is now considered a “rebate.” Essentially it’s getting a a credit against your tax liability for 2020.

Jake, my brain hurts already, can you just tell me what that means?

No, you don’t have to pay back your stimulus check. But here’s why (if you like details):

  • The bill says this rebate is a credit against your taxes owed. But what if you didn’t earn much and don’t owe taxes? All good, it’s a refundable credit, which means you get it whether you owe taxes or not.
  • The bill says if you get a stimulus rebate based on 2018/2019 income, but then you earn MORE than the phaseout amount in 2020, you don’t have to pay it back, the rebate will be FORGIVEN.

Example: Joe earned $50,000 in 2019, and gets a $1,200 rebate check. But in 2020, he earns $100,000, which would disqualify him from the rebate. He does NOT have to pay back the $1,200, and the rebate payment is essentially “forgiven.”

Do I Get A Check If I’m Retired Or On Social Security?

Yes. You will still be eligible to receive a stimulus check. Adjusted Gross Income will be based on your 2019 tax return (or 2018 if no 2019 return filed yet). If you have not filed a return for either year, the rebate amount will be determined based on Social Security Administration records.

Update: The IRS has announced that those on Social Security DO NOT need to file a tax return to qualify, payment will be automatic. More details can be found here

What If I Haven’t Filed A Tax Return?

If you are not required to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 (not enough income, or other reason), the IRS is asking people to keep an eye on their Coronavirus update page.

In the FAQ they just published about stimulus payments, the IRS says you may need to submit your bank account info to get a stimulus payment using a brand-new tool that the Treasury is creating (TBD).

Here’s the quote from their page:

In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.

Keep an eye on their updates, and we will update here as well when they launch the new tool.

What Should I Do With The Money?

The money received from this stimulus is meant to help you through the financial turmoil current happening. With millions seeing their income drop (many of them to $0), this money should be reserved for essential spending if you are in financial distress.

Here are a few things I recommend doing with your stimulus money:

Get On A Written Budget

Yes, this money is much needed during this time of crisis, but long-term, it doesn’t mean a thing unless you have a plan for your money.

I recommend reading through my complete guide to budgeting, and grabbing a copy of my FREE budget template to get started.

p.s. if you’re ready to make a complete money plan, our 40-page Budget Binder is only $9 until this health crisis slows down.

Budgeting Binder

Pay For Immediate Needs

The most important needs right now are food, shelter and utilities. You may also need a few household items to help through the current lockdowns. Take care of yourself and your family first. And remember, there are options available for financial help on my COVID-19 Financial Resources page.

Add To Your Emergency Fund

If you can pay for your immediate needs, but don’t have 3 to 6 months of expenses saved in an Emergency Fund, these funds can be added to help you weather the current health crisis.

Earn the most interest with a CIT Bank Money Market account!

or compare the top money market savings accounts here

Pay Off Debt

If you are financially secure and have taken care of your immediate priorities, you can now look at paying down some of your debt. I recommend using the Debt Snowball Method. You may also consider paying down your Federal Student Loans, as they are currently suspending interest, and your payments would all go toward principal.

Continue Investing

If you still have income and an emergency fund, you may consider putting these extra funds into something like a Roth IRA. You can read more details on how I recommend investing in my Personal Finance 101 post.

If you are unsure what you should be doing with your money right now, I also recommend checking out my 7 Steps To Creating An Emergency Budget which can help your dollars stretch further during this health and financial crisis.

Donate It

If you are in a good financial position, you may consider donating these funds to those in need. Some have suggested buying gifts cards to local businesses to use later, which gives them much-needed revenue to stay afloat.

There are also many local community relief funds opening up everywhere you can give to. Or simply help those around you who are struggling to put food on the table or pay their bills.

Find a cause, and give, it will have a PROFOUND IMPACT to those in need around you.

Get Started On A Budget (Free Template!)

This money may NOT be enough to help you through the next few months during this national state of emergency. You cannot control what the market or virus are doing, but you CAN control the choices you make during this critical time.

Make sure you grab a copy of my FREE Budget Template and put a money plan in place!

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites. 
He’s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

4 thoughts on “Stimulus Checks 2020: Do You Get $1,200?”

  1. Hi, Jake. Thank you for this information. Please look at my situation and let me know if you agree.

    The stimulus I received was based on 2018 AGI of just over $87,000.

    I filed my 2019 return but it must not have been in time to count for the stimulus. The 2019 AGI was just under $83,000.

    If my 2020 AGI is less than $75,000, will I receive a stimulus payment of $1,200.00, less the amount I’ve already received?

    Thank you.

    • Yes, if you only received a partial stimulus payment, if your 2020 AGI drops below the $75k threshold for single taxpayers, you can get the difference as a “tax credit” on your 2020 tax return (Filed next year)

  2. I filed my 2018 taxes last year but due to a one time bonus on my employer being sold, I wouldn’t qualify for a stimulus check. However, I filed my 2019 taxes which my income for last year does qualify. I received my refund on April 15th. Should I still receive a stimulus check?

    • Hey Greg, when did you file your 2019 taxes? Yes, you should get a stimulus payment because if you qualify on your 2019 taxes and have filed them, the IRS should have your updated info now.

      Make sure to check the Get My Payment app on the IRS website to see your stimulus status.


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