How soon will I get my stimulus check? How the IRS plans to send out stimulus checks from the CARES Act and when you can expect to get yours.

Much of the American economy has moved online as the country makes an effort to curb the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, and the abrupt shift to the internet has left millions of people either unemployed or forced to adjust to an unfamiliar normal. Fortunately, the federal government recently passed legislation that will send some short-term financial relief to those in need.  

As a result of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed in late March by Congress, a majority of adults across the country will receive a one-time stimulus check of $1,200, though the exact amount depends on a person’s income. Married couples without kids making below a specific amount will get a total of $2,400, and those with kids will receive an extra $500 for every eligible child age 16 or under. To get a check, you do not need to apply.   

Now that the legislation has passed and the government is gearing up to turn this program from a hypothetical into a reality, the main thing people want to know: How soon will I get my money? The quick answer — it’s complicated. 

How Soon Will I Get My Stimulus Check?

What You Need to Qualify for a Coronavirus/COVID-19 $1,200 Check

Before we detail when your check from the Internal Revenue Service will arrive, you need to understand how much you’ll be receiving, if any at all. 

The IRS will determine if you’re qualified for the check by using your 2019 tax return. If you have yet to complete your 2019 taxes, the I.R.S. will use your 2018 return. If you have yet to file that, you can give the agency a 2019 Social Security statement showing your income. 

You will receive the full $1,200 amount if you are a single adult with a Social Security number and your income is $75,000 or less. The threshold to receive the full $2,400 for married couples filing joint returns is $150,000. In addition to the $2,400, married couples will also receive $500 for every eligible child. 

The stimulus check is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. If you are a single filer making over $99,000 or a joint filer with an income exceeding $198,000, you are not qualified for a stimulus check. 

Unfortunately, if you are claimed by your parents as a dependent (which includes many high-school and college-aged people), you are also ineligible for a stimulus payment. 

How Soon Will You Receive Your $1,200?

The exact date you’ll receive your check depends on your situation, but the IRS has already started to send electronic payments to millions of people across the country. 

How quickly you’ll get that money primarily depends on how you filed your taxes. Electronic payments can be quickly sent out by the IRS, but other methods require the agency to print and distribute paper checks, which adds extra time to the process. 

To find information about your specific check, the IRS has released an online tool enabling you to track exactly when you’ll get it. To track your stimulus check, you’ll have to input your social security number, your birthday, your address and your zip code — provided you filed your 2019 or 2018 tax return. If you are a qualified non-filer, there are extra links on the IRS’s website to input your information so you can still get your money. 

On April 2, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said qualified Americans who have signed up for direct deposit payments should get them within two weeks, a process which is currently ongoing. A spokesperson for the Treasury Department expects 50 million to 70 million Americans to get their money via direct deposit by April 15, according to The Washington Post. 

What If I Didn’t Sign Up for Direct Deposit?

However, if you need a paper check and didn’t sign up for direct deposit, you might have to wait for a bit. $30 million in paper checks for millions of people across the country won’t begin being distributed until April 24 or longer because the government doesn’t have their banking information. 

Paper checks will reportedly be sent to lowest-income Americans first, beginning on April 24 with individual taxpayers that make $10,000 or less, per to an internal IRS plan obtained by The Washington Post. After that, checks will be sent to people earning $20,000 or less, sent in the mail May 1, followed by stimulus payments for people with incomes of $30,000 on May 8, $40,000 on May 15, and continuing in increments of $10,000 weekly. 

Under the proposal, this process will keep going until paper checks are sent out on Sept. 4 to joint taxpayers making the maximum that are still qualified for a stimulus payment. All other paper checks will be sent out on Sept. 11, primarily to those the I.R.S. did not have prior tax information about. The IRS plans to distribute roughly 5 million checks each week.

For more information on your specific situation, please visit the IRS’s coronavirus stimulus payment resource center, linked here. We will update this article as the situation evolves and the payment process begins. 

More on Topics Related to Coronavirus Relief:

CARES Act: 4 Key Pieces for You

Coronavirus/COVID-19: Where to Get Help

Coronavirus 2020: Effectively Working from Home

How Will the Coronavirus Impact Your Business?

How COVID-19 Impacts Your Student Loans