What Vermonters Need to Know About the $600 Stimulus Check
HOW MUCH WILL MY PAYMENT BE?
Per The New York Times, the $900 billion-dollar COVID-19 relief bill will provide a $600 payment to individuals making $75,000 or less annually, based on their 2019 adjusted gross income. Couples filing jointly and making up to $150,000 will receive $1,200. Heads of households who make $112,500 or less will receive $1,200. For those who make more than these threshold amounts, the payment will decrease by five dollars for every additional $100 of income.
Eligible families with dependents under seventeen will receive an additional $600 per dependent. Dependents seventeen or older are not eligible to receive a payment. These qualifications are based on your 2019 tax return.
If your status has changed and your household qualifies to receive a larger benefit, you can claim the additional amount you should have received on your 2020 tax return. If you receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability insurance, CNET has some preliminary information about what you should expect.
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WHEN WILL I RECEIVE MY PAYMENT?
According to The Washington Post, the United States Treasury Department is sending the latest round of stimulus payments in waves, starting the week of December 28. It is likely that Americans with direct deposit information on file with the IRS will receive their payments first. The relief bill outlines that the Treasury Department has until January 15, 2021 to send the payments. If the payments cannot be direct deposited or mailed by that date, the funds will need to be claimed when filing your 2020 tax returns.
While the Treasury Department issues the payments, the IRS is responsible for getting them to you. Due to the start of the 2021 tax season and with many Americans still waiting for the first round of stimulus payments, it may take longer than anticipated for you to receive your payment. Calling the IRS will not expedite the process.
UPDATE (January 7, 2021): I DIDN'T RECEIVE MY ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT WHEN I EXPECTED. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
The IRS has announced that they deposited over 13 million stimulus payments into temporary accounts used for Americans who received their 2019 tax refunds through a tax preparer, rather than directly to personal bank accounts. The result is that many people did not receive their stimulus checks as expected.
H&R Block has confirmed that customers who took advantage of the Refund Transfer tool in 2019—used to pay the fees associated with tax preparation by covering the cost with money from your tax refund—may have had their second stimulus deposited to a temporary account rather than sent straight to them. H&R Block is investigating the issue and will be forwarding payments to the method you originally chose when setting up your Refund Transfer.
If you filed your 2019 taxes with TurboTax and used the Pay By Refund/Refund Processing option, TurboTax now expects the error depositing stimulus funds into the wrong accounts to be corrected. Their statement says they have re-confirmed the correct banking information with the IRS to ensure those impacted receive their payments.
According to the IRS, if you receive Social Security Administration (SSA), Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), Supplementary Security Income (SSI), or Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits via a Direct Express card, your stimulus payment will be deposited on that card. The bank information displayed on IRS.GOV/EIP will be a number associated with that card.
Individuals who see the "Payment Status #2 - Not Available" message on the Get My Payment tool will not receive the second stimulus payment automatically, even if they successfully received the first stimulus payment via direct deposit, check, or debit card. The IRS recommends that people who have not received their Economic Impact Payments file their 2020 tax return electronically and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit to get their payment and any refund as quickly as possible.
I’M UNEMPLOYED. HOW WILL THIS RELIEF BILL AFFECT ME?
Federal unemployment benefits have been extended for the next 11 weeks. Weekly benefits include up to $300 for those unemployed and an additional $100 under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for freelancers and independent contractors. This is a reduction from the previous $600 in additional jobless benefits from the federal government.
AM I STILL PROTECTED FROM BEING EVICTED?
Eviction protections have been extended to January 31, 2021. This is a federal eviction moratorium and does not affect similar state programs. The State of Vermont has legislation protecting Vermonters from eviction and foreclosure during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
If you are a renter and need help, the relief program does include $25 billion to be distributed by state and local governments. There is no more information at this time about how this money will be distributed.
WHAT ELSE IS IN THIS RELIEF PACKAGE?
In addition to unemployment benefits and stimulus payments, the $900 billion package includes $82 billion for education, $7 billion for expanding access to broadband, $285 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, $70 billion for health programs (including the purchase and distribution of vaccines), and $10 billion for childcare facilities impacted by the pandemic, among other funds, according to The New York Times.
A notable addition is $13 billion for food assistance, with $400 million earmarked to support food banks and food pantries. The bill also increases monthly benefits from the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by 15%.
WHAT ABOUT THE $2,000 STIMULUS CHECKS?
As of December 29, the proposal by the President to increase the $600 payment to $2,000 is still being debated, with the House voting to advance bill on Monday, December 28. It is important to note that the $600 and $2,000 checks are two separate pieces of legislation, with the $600 payments already signed into law. If passed, this legislation would add up to $1,400 to your second stimulus check, bringing the total relief payment to $2,000 for individual filers.
WHAT IF I DIDN’T RECEIVE THE FIRST STIMULUS PAYMENT?
If you have yet to receive the first stimulus payment, you may be eligible to claim it when filing your 2020 taxes. Visit the IRS website for more details.
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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of VSECU.
About Oliver Ames
Oliver is VSECU's social media strategist and spends most of his day engaging with members through our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram profiles. He has a background in science education, non-profit fundraising, business communication, media production, and membership-based organizations. When not at work, Oliver spends much of his time with his wife and their little dog Butterscotch at their home in Montpelier.