Coronavirus cash payouts will go to some seniors and others this week
The growing panic expressed over pandemic-related money doesn’t seem to take into account that all the money was never set to be paid out at once.
So just because your neighbor saw a relief payout via direct deposit last week, it doesn’t mean that you won’t see some money soon.
More than half of the people who qualify to receive recovery rebates or checks have yet to receive any cash, and many will start seeing their money this week or later.
Some seniors who receive Social Security retirement benefits via direct deposit are expected to see that money associated with the Economic Impact Payments hit their accounts sometime this week, possibly next.
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This group includes people who receive Social Security benefits but may not make enough money to be required to file a federal income tax return. Many will not need to file any extra forms to receive this money.
Also beginning this week, the Internal Revenue Service will begin issuing paper checks on a weekly basis to people who have not provided direct deposit information but have a mailing address on record with the IRS, according to an April 16 report by the House Committee on Ways and Means.
They’ll join tens of millions of taxpayers who saw their money directly deposited into their bank accounts last week, including many of those who filed 2018 or 2019 tax returns and had given the IRS their bank account information to be used for direct deposit of their income tax refunds.
Based on Treasury Department reports, more than 80 million Americans saw direct deposit of checks that were part of the coronavirus relief package during the week of April 13.
Some retirees saw their money last week; others will this week.
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What’s important to note: Some receiving Social Security benefits will receive their payments as a direct deposit or by mail, just as they would normally receive their benefits. This applies if you receive an SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 and do not make enough money during the year to normally have to file a tax return.
About 25 million to 30 million Social Security beneficiaries and recipients of Supplemental Security Income typically are not required to file federal income tax returns. As a result, they’re likely to be in the next rounds of payments.
As more people see payments – up to $1,200 for individuals and up to $2,400 for a couple – many worries will go away.
However, the headaches and confusion aren’t vanishing for everyone.
Various situations in your own life could mean that you’d need to wait a few more weeks or even months to see a direct deposit of money into a bank account, onto a prepaid card or see a payment arrive in the mail.
Here’s a look at a few specific situations:
Veterans will be waiting a bit longer
We don’t know yet when some veterans will receive the payments. But the IRS, working with the Treasury Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs, reached a solution that will enable some automatic payments.
The IRS said veterans and their beneficiaries who receive compensation and pension benefit payments will receive a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment without needing to file extra forms.
“Timing on the payments is still being determined,” the IRS said April 17.
“Since many VA recipients typically aren’t required to file tax returns, the IRS had to work with these other government agencies to determine a way to quickly and accurately deliver Economic Impact Payments to this group,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.
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If someone receiving VA benefits has young children, though, an extra step could be necessary to receive an extra $500 per qualifying child under age 17.
For taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 or 2019, the child payments will be automatic. If the benefit recipients typically aren’t required to file a tax return and they have children who qualify, though, they would need to register at “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info” available only on IRS.gov.
“For those who can use this tool as soon as possible, they may be able to get earlier delivery of the child payments by having these added to their automatic payments,” the IRS said.
The IRS said you do not want to use the non-filers tool, though, if you’ve filed or will be filing a 2019 federal income tax return. The IRS has added this warning to the non-filers site: “Using this tool will NOT speed up your Economic Impact Payment and will likely slow down processing of your tax return and receiving any refund.”
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You can use the non-filers tool if: You’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You cannot be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer. And you had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019, and you did not file a return for 2018 or 2019 and were not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019.
The ‘Plus $500 Push’
The IRS issued a special alert Monday afternoon for those who live on limited incomes, receive federal benefits and take care of children under age 17.
If you want to see an additional $500 per eligible child soon, you’d need to fill out the “Non-filers: Enter Payment Info” tool online by noon Wednesday. These groups, including those receiving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income, might not make enough money to be required to file a tax return.
“Their $1,200 payments will be issued soon and, in order to add the $500 per eligible child amount to these payments, the IRS needs the dependent information before the payments are issued. Otherwise, their payment at this time will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child amount would be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020,” the IRS said Monday afternoon.
All checks aren’t being mailed at the same time
Paper checks will be issued at a rate of about 5 million per week, according to the House Committee on Ways & Means. And the mailing of checks could drag out three or four months, depending on how many people end up receiving checks or may be able to sign up for direct deposit via the “Get My Payment” tool at IRS.gov.
The “Get My Payment” tool has triggered all sorts of anxiety for many taxpayers. It often will not work in a fairly wide variety of scenarios.
But it is a spot where many people still may be able to sign up and give the IRS their direct deposit information to avoid receiving a check.
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On Monday, some readers told me that they had been able to successfully update direct deposit information on April 15. The IRS then stated online that a payment would be deposited into their accounts but when they checked on Sunday they were told they’d now receive a paper check.
On Friday, the IRS noted that the application will declare “Payment Status Not Available” for several reasons including that the IRS hasn’t finished processing your 2019 return.
Or it’s also possible, the IRS said, that the “application doesn’t yet have your data; we’re working on adding more data to allow more people to use it.”
What’s important to know: Some of the actual checks will be issued to get the money out to the people who may need it the most. Those with the lowest adjusted gross income will be first in line to receive the money via a check.
Disabled people may see money in early May
“Treasury has announced that adult SSI recipients will receive their rebate by early May at the latest, in the same way as they receive their normal benefits,” according to Ways & Means.
Supplemental Security Income provides cash assistance to help the aged, blind and disabled who have little or no income.
Seniors find situations will vary
For some, figuring out when their payments will arrive can seem as daunting as trying to understand how to fill out a tax return.
The IRS keeps updating its site with FAQ information, which can address some very specific scenarios.
Say, for example, you’re retired and you receive Social Security benefits but your spouse does not, and you support your 10-year-old grandchild. The IRS online site relating to non-filers, for example, shows why some retirees will need to provide more information down the line.
“Each year, you receive a Form SSA-1099 from the Social Security Administration showing the amount of your benefits. Neither you, your spouse, nor your grandchild are claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer for 2019. Your gross income as a couple is below $24,400 and you don’t need to file a federal income tax return,” according to the IRS scenario.
“The IRS will automatically calculate and issue you a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment based on the information listed on your Form SSA-1099.”
But the IRS noted that this specific couple would need to provide additional information to claim the $2,400 Economic Impact Payment with your spouse because your spouse didn’t receive benefits from the Social Security Administration or Railroad Retirement Board in 2019. And in this example, the couple also could qualify for an additional $500 Economic Impact Payment for the grandchild.
In this example, the couple would use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool to get the additional payment money of $1,700 this year but only if they register soon with the IRS or file a federal income tax return.
Going forward, many people aren’t going find it all that easy to get specific answers – the IRS after all isn’t taking calls during the coronavirus pandemic – but it may be somewhat reassuring to know that more relief money is on track to arrive soon.