Who Qualifies for a COVID-19 Stimulus Payment? The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act  officially launched a $2 trillion stimulus package, and comes on the heels of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A portion of this package includes a single cash payment of up to $1,200 to those Americans who qualify. Married couples filing jointly would receive $2,400, and families with children under the age of 17 would receive an extra $500 per child.

In order to qualify for a COVID-19 stimulus payment, the following must be met:

*You must have a valid United States social security number.

*You must have filed taxes in either 2018 or 2019 or not currently earn enough to file taxes, but receive social security payments.

If you are not required to file taxes you might still qualify for this payment. Who qualifies:

  1. Lower-income Americans. Some people haven’t filed a 2018 or a 2019 return because they are under the normal income minimums for having to file a tax return. This may include single filers who made under $12,200 and married couples making less than $24,400 in 2019.
  2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, Social Security, SSDI,  Railroad Retirement beneficiaries and those who receive Compensation and Pension benefit payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

*You must have earned less than $99,000 if you are a single filer, $136,500 if you are the head of a household, or $198,000 if you are a married couple filing jointly.

*You must not be claimed by someone else as a dependent.

*You must be considered a resident, for U.S. federal tax purposes.

You will be considered a resident for tax purposes if you meet one of the following tests:

  1. you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States at any time during the calendar year. This is known as the “green card” test.
  2. if you meet the substantial presence test for the calendar year. To meet this test, you must be physically present in the United States (U.S.) on at least: 31 days during the current year, and 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that.

Individuals and couples will not qualify for a stimulus payment if any of the following conditions apply:

*You have an adjusted gross income that is higher than $99,000 (single or married filing separately), $136,500 (head of household), or $198,000 (married filing jointly).

*You are able to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

*You do not have a valid United States social security number.

*You are a nonresident alien. (Remember you can qualify as a resident by meeting the substantial presence test)

*You filed either of the following for the year 2019: Form 1040-NR, Form 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040-PR, or Form 1040-SS.

It has also been announced that the payments themselves will be received in two different methods. One method is via direct deposit for those who received their 2018 or 2019 tax refunds in this same manner. The other method is via U.S. mail, which can take much longer to receive – up to five months. In terms of who else does and does not qualify for a COVID-19 stimulus payment, there are a few different instances that can determine this.

For example, a married couple consisting of one United States citizen and one non-citizen with three United States citizen children may not actually qualify for the payment due to the fact that even though they file jointly, they use an ITIN number for the non-citizen spouse due to the spouse not having a valid United States social security number. This means that they would have to re-file their taxes as “married filing separately” instead of “married filing jointly.”

Another example would be an individual living in the United States from another country with a child and who has Temporary Protected Status. She files her taxes as “head of household” and also has a valid United States social security number in order to pay taxes over her income due to her job that she works. She would be eligible to receive the COVID-19 stimulus payment.

If you need help or have questions regarding your payment please contact us.