CARES Stimulus Check FAQs

On March 27, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), a $2 trillion stimulus package into law. The federal government’s response to the global coronavirus pandemic includes provisions to assist small businesses and stimulus checks for individuals.

You may be wondering how the law will affect your family law case. Here is some information to help answer some of your questions about the stimulus checks.

Most adults should expect to receive a one-time $1,200 payment from the federal government in the next few weeks. However, some Americans will receive less. To calculate the size of the check, the government is examining the adjusted gross income listed on the taxpayer’s most recent tax return.

For those that have not filed their 2019 tax return, the government will base the calculation on the adjusted gross income listed on 2018 tax return. Under the law, individual adults will receive up to $1,200, while married couples will receive up to $2,400. Couples with children under 17 at the end of the tax year will receive $500 for each child.

For more information and updates on coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit our Family Law Advisor COVID-19 update page.

FAQs

Are the stimulus checks only for people that have become unemployed because of COVID-19?

No. Provided you meet the qualifications below; you are eligible to receive a check even if you are currently employed.

I was not employed prior to the pandemic, am I eligible to receive a stimulus check?

Yes. Provided you meet the qualifications below.

I recently became unemployed because of COVID-19, am I eligible to receive a stimulus check?

Yes. Provided you meet the qualifications below.

How much am I eligible to receive?

It depends on the adjusted gross income listed on your most recently filed tax return. For those who filed in 2019, your adjusted gross income is listed on page 1, line 8b of Form 1040. For those who have not yet filed in 2019, but filed in 2018, your adjusted gross income is listed on page 2, line 7 of Form 1040.

Single adults with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less; married couples with no children with an adjusted gross income of $150,000 or less; and heads of household with an adjusted gross income of $112,500 or less will receive the full amount.

What if the adjusted gross income listed is higher than the figures listed above?

For Americans that earned more than the figures above, the check is reduced by $5 for every additional $100 of adjusted gross income.

Who will NOT receive a check?

A person with no social security number, with some exceptions for members of the armed forces and people with adoption taxpayer identification numbers.

A person that can be claimed as a dependent. Even if the person is an adult.

Single people with an adjusted gross income of $99,000 or higher.

People filing as head of household with an adjusted gross income of $136,500 or higher.

Married couples with no children and an adjusted gross income of $198,000 or higher.

Married couples with one child and an adjusted gross income of $208,000 or higher.

Married couples with two children and an adjusted gross income of $218,000 or higher.

Married couples with two children and an adjusted gross income of $228,000 or higher.

Parents of children born in 2020.

I will earn substantially less in 2020 than the two previous years, am I eligible for a larger check?

Unfortunately, no. The amount paid will be determined based on your reported income on the tax return. However, this may be reconciled in your 2020 return. Ultimately, if you qualify for more than you received, you may collect a bigger refund or a smaller tax payment for your 2020 tax return.

If I earn substantially more in 2020 than the two previous years, will I have to pay any amount back to the government?

No.

What if I owe the IRS money for previous years?

Provided you meet the qualifications listed above, you will receive a check.

How quickly will I receive my check?

We are still waiting for guidance from the IRS regarding this question. The government will use the direct deposit information you listed on your return to deposit the check. It is assumed that those that have previously provided this information to the IRS will receive their payment sooner.

What if the IRS does not have my direct deposit information?

We are still waiting for guidance from the IRS regarding this question. According the IRS, in a few weeks, the government will launch a website for individuals to submit their banking information. Others will receive checks in the mail.

What if my address has changed?

If you have not previously provided the IRS with your banking information and your address has changed, you may want to consider submitting an address change to the IRS.

I have not filed a tax return, what are my options?

The government has urged those that did not file their 2018 and 2019 returns to file as soon as possible.

I am the non-custodial parent and owe child support to the custodial parent, will I receive my check?

The normal rules for child support are still in effect. States child support agencies are required to report past due child support to the United States Treasury. As a result, all or a partial amount of your check may be intercepted by the Attorney General of Texas: Child Support Division and provided to the custodial parent to be applied to the outstanding balance.

How long will the government be issuing the checks?

The CARES Act states that no payment will be allowed after December 31, 2020

I have a pending divorce case, who will get the check?

The check will go to the bank account that was provided to the IRS in your previous return. If your last tax return was a joint return tax return with your spouse, please contact your attorney to discuss your options.

I have a custody case, who will get the portion of the check that is allocated for the children?

The person who filed as head of household will receive the check. If you filed jointly with your spouse and listed your minor children, or if your custody situation has changed since the tax return was filed, please contact your attorney to discuss your options.

If I am a permanent resident, a work visa holder, or a DACA recipient, am I eligible to receive to receive a payment from the government?

Yes, provided you meet the requirements listed above.

I receive Social Security Benefits, what actions do I have to take to receive the stimulus check?

 On April 1, the government issued guidance regarding this question. The IRS will use the information that the Social Security Administration has on file. Therefore, if you did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, the IRS will use the information on Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 to calculate the payment amount. If your benefits are directly deposited into your account, you will receive your stimulus payments the same way. If you typically receive your benefits in the mail, your stimulus check will be mailed to you. It is anticipated that it will take longer to receive checks by mail than those made by direct deposit.

I typically do not have to file a tax return because I do not earn more than $12,000 or receive benefits that are not considered taxable income, what actions do I have to take to receive the stimulus check?

The IRS has partnered with TurboTax to launch a Stimulus Registration website for individuals to submit their information; however, users must create a TurboTax Online profile. The website captures your filing status, number of dependents, and direct deposit information. You also have the choice of choosing to receive the payment by direct deposit or check.

How quickly will I receive my check?

Beginning April 13, the IRS began to direct deposit stimulus checks. The government is using the direct deposit information listed on your 2018 or 2019 form to deposit the check. Those that have not yet received their checks will soon be able to track the status of the payment using a tool that will be posted on the IRS website. Using the tool, you will be to see when your funds will be deposited or mailed.

I typically do not have to file a tax return because I do not earn more than $12,000 or receive benefits that are not considered taxable income, what actions do I have to take to receive the stimulus check?

If you receive veterans disability compensation, a pension, or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or your income level does not require you to file a tax return, then you need to submit information to the IRS by clicking here. The IRS has also partnered with TurboTax to launch a Stimulus Registration website for individuals to submit their information; however, users must create a TurboTax Online profile. Both websites capture your filing status, number of dependents, and direct deposit information. You also have the choice of choosing to receive the payment by direct deposit or check.

What if the IRS does not have my direct deposit information?

The agency has announced that its “Get My Payment” tool will be launching this week. Using the application on the IRS’s website, you will be able to check the status of your check, add your direct deposit information, and select whether or not you would like to receive the payment via direct deposit or paper check.