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Consumer Protections and Scams: What Should I Know about the Economic Impact Payment or Stimulus Check if I Do NOT Regularly File Taxes (Non-filer)?



Who does NOT regularly have to file taxes and is considered a “non-filer” for purposes of the stimulus payments?

“Non-filers” include all of the following groups of people:

  • Anyone who receives IRS Form SSA-1099 (social security recipients)
  • Anyone who receives Form RRB-1099 (railroad retirees)
  • Anyone whose only income is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Anyone who receive veterans disability compensation, pension or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and did not file a tax return for the 2018 or 2019 tax years;
  • Anyone who earned income under $12,200 if single or $24,400 if married during the 2019 tax year

What is the purpose of the economic impact payment, also knows as a “stimulus check”?

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus “CARES” Act became law.  This law created a one-time payment to many people in the United States from the federal government. The reason for the payment is to help people financially who face economic hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  The government also wants to boost spending power and spur economic activity.

Who is eligible for the economic impact payment?

Any individual in the United States is eligible for the payment except someone who is a nonresident alien or a person who can be claimed as someone else’s dependent.

How much is the payment?

  • Individuals who report adjusted gross income up to $75,000 on their tax returns will receive $1,200.
  • Married couples who earn up to $150,000 and file a joint tax return will receive a payment of $2,400.
  • Parents or caregivers may receive up to $500 for each qualifying child claimed as a dependent.

The payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds.  For example, an individual who reports gross income of $80,000 would get $950 instead of $1200 (50 X 5 = $250; $1200 - $250 = $950).

Do I have to file a tax return to receive the stimulus payment?  

Non-filers do not have to file a tax return to get a stimulus payment.  Some non-filers will get individual stimulus payments automatically based on other information.  The IRS will use the information on IRS Form SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 in place of a federal tax return if you do not typically have to file a tax return.  If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) the IRS will use the information on file with the Social Security Administration in place of a tax return.  Each person will receive $1,200 per person automatically, but no additional money for any dependents unless you register with the new IRS non-filer tool.  See Q and A below.

Who should use the new IRS non-filer tool to get their stimulus payments?

Some non-filers must use a new tool created by the IRS to get their stimulus payments.  Those group include the following people:

  • Anyone who receives veterans disability compensation, pension or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and did not file a tax return for the 2018 or 2019 tax years; or
  • Anyone who has earned income under $12,200 if single or $24,400 if married during the 2019 tax year; or
  • Anyone who receives IRS Form SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 or SSI but also has dependents who qualify for stimulus payments.

Click here to go to the IRS non-filer tool.

Click here to see step-by-step instructions for the non-filer tool.

The Cuyahoga Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition will help non-filers register for their stimulus payments.  To request services, send an email to support@refundohio.org with name, phone number and what assistance is needed.  A volunteer from the EITC will call to follow up.

What Action is Needed for People Receiving SSI to Receive $500 Per Child Payment?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who don’t file tax returns will start receiving their automatic Economic Impact Payments directly from the Treasury Department in early May.
People receiving SSI benefits who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes, and have qualifying children under age 17, however, need to act by Tuesday, May 5, in order to receive additional payments for their eligible children quickly. They should go to the IRS’s webpage at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Your Information section.

Please note that DirectExpress account holders may use the IRS’s Non-Filer tool, but they cannot receive their and their children’s payment on their DirectExpress card. They may only enter non-DirectExpress bank account information for direct deposit or leave bank information empty to receive a paper check by mail.

Click here to go to the IRS non-filer tool.

Click here to see step-by-step instructions for the non-filer tool.

The Cuyahoga Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition will help non-filers register for their stimulus payments. To request services, send an email to support@refundohio.org with name, phone number and what assistance is needed. A volunteer from the EITC will call to follow up.

Will the stimulus funds I receive affect my 2020 federal tax return?

Yes. The stimulus funds are a credit similar to the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit.  On the 2020 income tax return that will be prepared during the 2021 tax season, there likely will be a line entry under payments and refundable credits in which the stimulus credit can be calculated using the taxpayer’s 2020 income.  The stimulus check will be subtracted from the credit due on the return. If more credit is due, it will become part of a refund. If there is an overpayment through the stimulus check, the amount of the overpayment will not have to be returned to the IRS.

Will I receive a stimulus check if I owe debt to a federal or state agency?

Yes. People who owe money in any form to a federal or state agency, or a credit card company, will still get their stimulus check. Except, if a person owes past due child support payments and the state has reported that debt to the Treasury Department, then the individual will not get a stimulus check.

Does the money I get from the stimulus check affect my food stamps, Medicaid, or other public benefits?

No.  This payment does NOT count as income for eligibility or figuring out your benefit amount for any federally means tested program for twelve months.  This means that the check will not count as income or resources for SNAP (food stamps), TANF (PRC or OWF), Medicaid, or Social Security benefits for one year from the date that the payment is issued.  After one year, if you have not spent all of the payment, it could affect your benefits then.  Because the payment does not get counted for the first year, it will have no affect on your eligibility for benefits or on your benefit amount during this year.

When will I receive my stimulus check?

The U.S. Treasury will begin providing stimulus checks to taxpayers during the first week of April. These will be direct deposited for anyone who provided banking information on their tax returns or through the IRS non-filer tool. For all others, the payments will be mailed.         

Can I track my payment?

Yes. Go to https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.

 Where can I find more information?

The IRS will post all key information on www.IRS.gov/coronavirus as it becomes available.

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