The federal government has approved emergency stimulus payments to help Americans through the COVID-19 crisis. The Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment and its Boston Tax Help Coalition want you to receive the most up to date and correct information on the stimulus payments. We will be providing simple updates with links to helpful information and tools. Please know that we pledge to bring you the most current and correct information. Be aware of any scams or misinformation.
Who will receive stimulus money? How much?
Generally speaking, you will automatically receive a $1,200 stimulus payment if you:
- Reported less than $75,000 in adjusted gross income on your most recent tax return (2019 or 2018)
- Receive Social Security retirement benefits
- Receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits
- Receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
- Receive Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits
- Receive Railroad Retirement and Survivor benefits
Married couples will automatically receive $2,400 payments if their combined income was less than $150,000 on their 2019 or 2018 tax return.
A reduced stimulus payment is available to:
- Individuals with an adjusted gross income of up to $99,000 per year
- Head of households with an adjusted gross income of up to $146,500 per year
- Married couples filing jointly with an adjusted gross income of up to $198,000 per year
Please note: If you are claimed as a dependent by another person, you will NOT receive a payment.
Will I receive extra money if I have children?
Typically, yes. You will automatically receive an extra $500 for each dependent child who is 16 or younger, as long as you filed a tax return in 2019 or 2018 that meets the income limits above. (See the full definition of a dependent child.)
If you receive SSI or VA benefits, you must inform the IRS about your child(ren) to claim the $500/child payment. Use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here page to submit this information as soon as possible.
If you receive Social Security retirement, SSDI, or railroad retirement benefits and you have NOT yet informed the IRS about your child(ren), you will have to wait until next year to receive your $500/child payment. To claim this payment, you will have to file a 2020 tax return.
I did NOT file a tax return for 2019 or 2018. Can I still receive stimulus money?
Yes, but you will need to report your information to the IRS using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here page. To receive a payment, you will need to show that you earned less than $75,000 and cannot be claimed as a dependent by another person.
I make NO income. Can I still receive a payment?
Yes. Even if you make $0 in income or rely on means-tested income, you can still receive a payment. But you cannot be claimed as a dependent by another person. Just be sure to report your information to the IRS using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here page if you do not fall into one of the categories of automatic payment recipients.
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to receive a payment?
You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien with a valid social security number to receive a payment.
I am a college student. Can I receive a payment?
You may receive stimulus money only if you are not claimed as a dependent by another person (such as a parent). Generally, a full-time college student under the age of 24 is considered a dependent if their parent(s) provide more than half of their support. But if your parent or guardian did not claim you as a dependent on their tax return, you can receive the stimulus payment as long as you meet the other criteria.
How will payments be sent?
If the IRS has your direct deposit banking information from your tax return or Social Security/railroad retirement forms, the payment will be deposited directly into your bank account.
If the IRS does NOT have your banking information, you have two options:
- You can send your banking information to the IRS using the Get My Payment webpage. This will allow the IRS to deposit the money directly into your bank account, which is the quickest way to receive payment. If you do not have a bank account, you can open one online. See this Bank On Boston list of safe and affordable accounts or call 617-918-5279 to learn more.
- You can wait for the IRS to mail a check to your last known address. If you have moved since you last gave your address to the IRS, follow these instructions to update your address.
When will payments be sent?
It depends on your type of payment (see above). The IRS has said it will begin making direct deposits the week of April 13th. Mailed checks may take much longer to send.
How can I check on my payment?
Use the IRS Get My Payment webpage to track the status of your payment.
I received a phone or email message requesting personal information for my stimulus payment. What should I do?
BE CAREFUL. This is likely a scam. Do not give out your personal information over phone or email and do not click on a link from someone you don’t know. The IRS will only use specific methods to contact taxpayers. Remember that you can always check the IRS webpage for official information.