Coronavirus stimulus checks are on their way: Here's how it works

With payments from the coronavirus stimulus package expected to reach American individuals and families as soon as this week, here is a breakdown of who will get them and how.

How do I get my money? Do I need to apply to receive my payment?

The stimulus checks, much like a tax refund, will be handled by the Internal Revenue Service. If you have filed your taxes electronically, the money can be transferred to your bank account via direct deposit.

If you have filed a paper copy of your taxes or have closed the bank account used to receive previous tax refunds, the government will send a check in the mail. If you have moved since you last filed your taxes, remember to submit a change of address form, which normally takes four to six weeks to process, in order to have the check sent to the correct residence.

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Alternatively, the House Ways and Means Committee said that the Treasury Department plans on setting up an online portal where people can submit their bank information to set up direct deposits instead of getting checks in the mail.

The best way to make sure your money arrives soon is to file your 2019 tax return as quickly as possible. This is especially true for people who lost a job in the last year as this could put you in a position to qualify to receive more money.

How will I know when I’ve received the stimulus money?

According to the text of the bill, Americans will receive a note in the mail – another reason to update your address information – informing them of where the payment ended up and in what form it was made. The paper notice should arrive no more than a few weeks after the money was disbursed.

If you’re having trouble locating the money – either in your bank account or via a check in the mail – there will be information regarding how to contact the IRS in the note mailed to you.

What if I don’t have an income or haven’t filed a tax return?

While most Americans are required to file a tax return, certain low-wage workers and people with no income will need to fill out a 1040-EZ form. While you’re not legally required to do so, the short form could help you get your stimulus check from the government.

I receive Social Security or disability payments, do I get a check? I’m a veteran, what about me? I live abroad, can I still get a check?

The answer to all those questions is yes, although Americans living abroad will still have to meet the income requirements and have a Social Security number.

Social Security recipients who do not file tax returns will be able to receive their payments based on information taken from SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 forms.

According to the bill, only non-resident aliens and those who can be claimed by someone else as a dependent are not eligible, but parents claiming children as dependents get an extra $500 per child.

How much can people expect to get?

People who file their taxes as individuals are eligible for payments up to $1,200, and couples who file jointly are eligible for up to $2,400 plus an additional $500 per child under the age of 17. The amount decreases for individuals who earn an adjusted gross income of more than $75,000 and couples who earn more than $150,000 a year at a rate of 5 percent of every dollar above those marks. This means the payment is less the higher their earnings are, with it being reduced to zero for individuals who make $99,000 or more and couples who make $198,000 or more

People who file as heads of household are eligible for payments of up to $1,200 plus $500 per child under 17. That amount is reduced for people who earn an adjusted gross income of more than $112,000 a year. The extent to which it is decreased depends on how many children they have.

Payment amounts may also be offset by any past due child support payments that have been reported to the Treasury Department.

For a more detailed look at the payment amounts, click here.

Is the stimulus payment considered taxable income?

No. The payments do not count as taxable income. Similarly, they do not count for determining eligibility for federal programs like Supplemental Security Income.