Congress passed a third stimulus payment package last week, and some direct deposits started to go out over the weekend of March 13-14. The new checks are for up to $1,400 per person and $1,400 per dependent (children or older adult dependents). Those who file joint returns will get up to $2,800. The calculator below will display the amount you can expect to get, depending on your income and whether you have dependents. Because of lower income phaseouts, single people making more than $80,000 in adjusted gross income (in AGI) and married people more than $160,000 in AGI will not receive a check this time.
Some examples: A family of four earning $140,000 will receive a second stimulus check for $5,600. A single mother who makes $78,000 per year and has one child and will receive $1,120. A 70-year-old retiree whose only income is Social Security will receive $1,400.
In January of this year, the U.S. Treasury sent out about 158 million second stimulus checks (to 92% of families), but fewer households are expected to receive a third stimulus check because of the lower income phaseouts (President Biden expects 85% of households to receive a third stimulus payment).
The number the IRS will look at is your adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2020, which is your income without retirement contributions but before your standard or itemized deductions are taken out. You can find your adjusted gross income on line 11 of your Form 1040 of your 2020 tax return. If you haven't yet filed your 2020 tax return, the IRS will use your AGI from your 2019 tax return.
Single people who make between $75,000 and $80,000 will have their checks reduced by 28% of the amount over $75,000, and married people who file joint returns and make between 150,000 and $160,000 will have their checks reduced by the same percentage of the amount over $150,000. Taxpayers who file as head of household and make between $112,500 and $120,000 will have their checks reduced by a similar percentage of the amount over $112,500. The $1,400 that parents receive for each dependent is subject to the same reduction.
This means that single people who earned $80,000 or more in 2020 don't qualify at all for the third stimulus check—compared with $87,000 for the second stimulus check. Couples who earned $160,000 or more won't get a third stimulus check, down from $174,000 for the second stimulus check. And a family of four that earned $160,000 or more also won't receive a third stimulus check.
Besides high-income earners, the only other individuals who aren't eligible for the stimulus check are those without Social Security numbers (nonresident aliens), those who are claimed as dependents on someone else's tax return, and possibly those who are incarcerated.
This time, an individual who is married to an immigrant without a Social Security number can get the stimulus check, though the spouse with only an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) still will not receive a check.
What about children? Parents should get an extra $1,400 for each child that they claimed as a dependent on their 2020 tax return. This is a change from the first and second stimulus checks, where only children who hadn't reached age 17 could qualify for the stimulus money.
What about people who don't pay taxes? There is no requirement that you paid taxes or filed a tax return in 2020. This means that even those people whose only source of income is Social Security retirement or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or veterans benefits are eligible for the $1,400 payment. (And for eligibility purposes, the stimulus check won't count as income to SSI or veterans benefits recipients, and won't count as resources unless an SSI recipient has money left over from the check 12 months after receiving it.)
Those who receive monthly Social Security benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, SSI, or veterans benefits should automatically receive the stimulus check whether they filed tax returns or not.
What about people receiving unemployment? Those collecting unemployment benefits are eligible to receive the stimulus payment.
What about individuals who are incarcerated? The IRS holds that people who are in jail or prison for 30 days or more are not eligible for stimulus checks, but the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has ruled that incarcerated individuals are eligible for the checks. The IRS is appealing this ruling, so whether these individuals will get the second stimulus check is unclear. (The same is true for those who have been institutionalized by court order after being found guilty but insane, not guilty by reason of insanity, or incompetent to stand trial for such an offense; and for those who are in violation of probation or parole for 30 days or more.)
Can back taxes or child support be taken out of the checks? The stimulus payments are not taxable and are not subject to garnishment by the government for back taxes or student loan defaults. The same is true for past due child support payments or private debts--for the second and third stimulus checks. (For the first stimulus check, if your state had reported overdue child support to the Treasury Department, your stimulus check was probably reduced by the amount you owed. Read our article on child support offsets for more information, including how to find out whether your name is on the Treasury Offset list. In addition, private debt collectors could levy or garnish your first stimulus check; read our article on protecting your stimulus money for more information.)
Can my bank take my stimulus check? If your bank account is overdrawn because of overdrafts or outstanding fees, your bank may take part or all of your stimulus check to bring your account even. However, when the second stimulus check came out, many large banks stated that they would bring customers' bank balances to zero, temporarily, so that customers could access their stimulus checks. This includes Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase.
For those who have e-filed tax returns with the IRS in the past or otherwise provided the IRS with their direct deposit information, the IRS started to direct-deposit stimulus money last weekend.
Other individuals will receive their payments by mail. The IRS will start mailing some checks in mid-March. If you received the first or second stimulus check by direct deposit, there's no guarantee you'll receive the third check by direct deposit, especially if you filed your tax return after your first or second stimulus payment and didn't use direct deposit for your tax refund.
For the first and second stimulus checks, the Treasury Department sent millions of taxpayers an economic impact payment (EIP) debit card. For the first stimulus check, EIP cards were sent to individuals who had not received a tax return by direct deposit in the past and who had their tax returns processed by certain IRS service centers. For the second stimulus check, the Treasury Department sent EIP cards to a majority of taxpayers.
If you received an EIP card for the second stimulus payment, you will probably receive a new EIP card for the third stimulus payment. If you receive an EIP card, read the material that comes with it carefully; they come with fees for checking your balance, using a teller for withdrawals, or using an out-of-network ATM.
Those who don't file tax returns, including those who earn little income and recent college graduates, may have to wait until they file a tax return in April 2022 to get their stimulus rebate if they didn't file a tax return for 2020 taxes or submit "non-filer" information to the IRS last year. Married couples with incomes below $24,400 and individuals with incomes under $12,200 fall into this category.
The IRS is still updating its Get My Payment tool with new payment information. Once it's loaded with up-to-date information, individuals can check when their stimulus payment went out. If you have any issue with getting your second or third payment, see our article on what to do if you haven't received your stimulus check.
Filing a tax return for 2020. If you don't receive government benefits, and you didn't file a tax return for 2019 or 2020 taxes or submit "non-filer" information to the IRS by November 21, 2020, you may not automatically get a third stimulus check. You might need to wait to file a tax return for the 2021 tax year (the initial deadline will be April 15, 2022) and request a "Recovery Rebate Credit." You will fill in the amount you are owed on line 30 of IRS Form 1040 (the instructions include a worksheet).
What if I've moved? If you moved since filing your last tax return, and you didn't sign up for direct deposit, you may have a long wait for your stimulus check. You can always file a change of address form with the IRS on Form 8822—or if, you haven't filed your 2020 tax return yet, filing your return would also update your address (and potentially your direct deposit information) with the IRS.
The third stimulus payment is actually an advance payment of a refundable credit that will be calculated with your 2021 taxes (the tax return you need to file by April 15, 2022).
If you made too much money in 2020 to get the full stimulus payment, but you end up making less income in 2021 than you did in prior years, you could get a stimulus payment as a rebate in 2022. Luckily, if you make more money in 2021 than you did in 2020, you will not have to pay back part or all of your stimulus payment in 2022.
Updated March 15, 2021