It may be worth your time to take a look at your bank account, The IRS started sending out $600 second stimulus payments by direct deposit at the end of December so there’s a good chance yours has already arrived. Stimulus payments will continue to hit bank accounts through the first half of January. If you don’t receive one via direct deposit, paper check, or debit card you may be eligible for a tax credit on your upcoming taxes.
How Do I Find Out if I Qualify for the Second Stimulus Check?
Eligibility for the second stimulus check is essentially the same as it was for the first round of stimulus payments in March 2020 under the CARES Act. Individuals earning up to $75,000 a year and couples earning up to $150,000 a year are eligible for the full amount. Parents can receive an additional $600 for each dependent child under age 17.
You can find out the status of your second stimulus payment with the IRS’s Get My Payment tool.
What if I Don’t Receive a Second Stimulus Check?
First—don’t freak out. Most people will receive their second stimulus check by direct deposit with the bank account the IRS has on file. The payments are automatic for anyone who filed a 2019 tax return and/or receives Social Security benefits. If you don’t have direct deposit with the IRS, you’ll get your payment as a check or debit card in the mail.
But if you still don’t receive your payment by the end of January, you can claim a credit for it when you file your 2020 income taxes this year. The same goes for the first stimulus payment too. You’ll see it on the 2020 Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR as the Recovery Rebate Credit.
Will There Be a Third Stimulus Check?
Congress and President Trump made a last-minute push to increase the second stimulus payments to $2,000 per person, but ultimately failed to get the increase through all the approval hoops. President-elect Joe Biden has said he supports additional aid, including a third stimulus check, once he takes office. He’ll have to work with Congress to get new legislation passed for that to happen, so it’s a game of wait and see for now.
What Should You Do if or When You Receive a Stimulus Check?
For some folks, this second stimulus payment—even for $600—is an answer to prayer. For others, it’s a nice-to-have but not necessary to make ends meet. Either way, you’ll want to make the most of any money that ends up in your bank account, right? Here’s where you start:
If you’re out of work or missing a paycheck, use this stimulus money to protect your Four Walls:
Keep food on the table, the lights on, and your rent or mortgage paid. Getting those necessities covered, even for a short time, will give you peace of mind so you can keep looking for work or get your income back up.