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Frequently asked questions about the second stimulus check

McConnell said, "if specific, struggling households still need more help,” the Senate will consider “smart targeted aid. Not another firehose of borrowed money.”

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — With the political back-and-forth, there are a lot of questions swirling around the newest stimulus check, so here are some answers WCNC Charlotte was asked.

RELATED: Did you get your stimulus payment? Look for IRS TREAS 310 in your bank account

Have a question about the second stimulus check? Text your question to 704-329-3600, and WCNC Charlotte will answer it.

But before we get to those questions, it's important to note that if your situation is very specific or possibly complicated, you should most likely contact the IRS directly. Here is their contact information: 1-800-829-1040.

Q: Who gets stimulus money?

According to the IRS, individuals making $75,000 or less in adjusted gross income will receive $600, and married couples (filing jointly) making $150,000 or less will receive $1,200 *Payments are reduced at the same rate as the CARES Act checks. For every $100 earned over these income thresholds, payments are docked $5.

Q: Do I have to sign up to receive my stimulus?

No. Most people don’t need to do anything.  Just like the prior CARES act, the IRS will issue checks based on 2019 tax returns.

RELATED: Ready for the $600 second stimulus check? Here's the potential timeline

Q: When will I see my money?

The IRS and Treasury announced that stimulus payments started going out via direct deposit on Dec. 29. Paper checks were scheduled to begin being mailed on Dec. 30. 

According to the IRS, checks will take three to four weeks to arrive. So if you log onto the IRS website and see your check was mailed on Jan. 6, you should receive them between Jan. 27 and Feb. 3.  

If the IRS is unable to find direct deposit information, they will send the money by check.

You could be one of the 8 million people getting a stimulus debit card in the mail. Why are you getting a card when you didn't get a card last time?

On the IRS.gov website it says:

“The prepaid debit card, called the economic impact payment card, is sponsored by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service and is issued by Treasury's financial agent, MetaBank. The IRS does not determine who receives a prepaid debit card.”

Most Americans, that are eligible for the payments, will receive them via direct deposit. So long as someone filed their taxes in past years, the IRS should have access to these accounts. Similarly, recipients of benefits like social security should have their direct deposit information on file. 

RELATED: VERIFY: No, the stimulus checks won't be going to undocumented immigrants

If you received your first stimulus check by mail, you'll want to sign up for direct deposit to make sure you get it quicker. It's likely that paper checks won't arrive until weeks after payments are sent out to those who set up direct deposit. 

Q: I don’t have direct deposit, now what?

You will get your money the same way you did last time, by snail mail.  It will take longer.  

RELATED: The second stimulus check: When to expect it, how much you will get

The Treasury has developed a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.

Q: What if I haven’t received my money from the first round of stimulus?

If you have still not received your payment from the first round of stimulus checks, you'll be able to claim it as a tax credit in the 2020 tax season, so long as you were truly qualified to receive such a payment.  

The IRS.gov website specifically addresses this by saying “Eligible individuals can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR. 

On the 1040 Tax Form, line 30 has been added, labeled "Recovery Rebate Credit." If you believe you were underpaid or not paid at all for either yourself or a dependent, this is where one can request a rebate.  

These forms can also be used by people who are not normally required to file tax returns but are eligible for the credit.

The Recovery Rebate Credit is authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Any eligible individual who did not receive the full amount of the recovery rebate as an advance payment, also known as an Economic Impact Payment, can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on a 2020 Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.

Generally, this credit will increase the amount of your tax refund or lower the amount of the tax you owe.

You do not need to complete any information about the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR if your Economic Impact Payment in 2020 was $1,200 ($2,400 if married filing jointly for 2020) plus $500 for each qualifying child you had in 2020. You received all your recovery rebate in 2020."

RELATED: Here's who won't get a second stimulus check from the COVID-19 relief bill

Q: What defines “child”?

The major factor, deciding who is qualified, is age. Parents or guardians will only be able to collect for their dependent if their child was less than 17 years old, on the 2019 tax filings. Dependent children can be claimed on federal tax returns so long as they are full-time students. 

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Stimulus 2.0 says families will get dependent credit for children under 17. If you have children in college or adult dependents like seniors, no credit will be given at this time.

Parents or guardians will only be able to collect an additional $600 if their dependent was 16 or younger when the parent submitted their 2019 tax filings. 

This means a high school senior, who was 17 years old on their parents' 2019 tax filings would not qualify. A college student, listed as a dependent on their parents' filings would not be qualified either. This has led to a lot of frustration from parents with young adults, listed as dependents.

Things get more complicated for parents who have a baby in 2020. These parents or guardians will not be able to collect an additional $600 in their stimulus checks, because the payments are based on the 2019 tax filing.

However, these parents should expect $600 when they file their 2020 tax returns, in the form of a $600 recovery rebate credit.

RELATED: VERIFY: What dependents qualify for an additions $600 in stimulus checks?

Q: Will the stimulus check be $600, $2,000 or $2,600?

The checks will be for $600 this time around for a qualifying individual. That is half of what they received in the first round of stimulus checks. A couple filing jointly would be eligible for $1,200, assuming their income qualifies. 

A couple or individual can also collect an additional $600 for each dependent under the age of 17. 

Just as with the first round of stimulus checks, there are income requirements. An individual must have made less than $75,000 on their 2019 tax filings, in order to receive the full $600 check. For additional income, the check starts to phase out, hitting zero at $87,000. 

Meanwhile, couples will receive the full $1,200 check if they made less than $150,000 on their 2019 tax filings. This check will phase out above that income level, hitting zero at $174,000. 

The IRS is basing your income off 2019 tax filings.

Here is a tool from Omni Calculator that may help you determine how much you might receive, based on the $600 number: https://www.omnicalculator.com/finance/second-stimulus-check

Q: Do I have to pay the stimulus back?

No, this money is yours to keep as it is not a loan.

Q: What if I moved?

 First, make sure your new address is on file with USPS. If so, then your mail should be forwarding. 

Secondly, you can change your address with the IRS. You can do this by using Form 8822 here.

Q: Will my stimulus payout eligibility be based on my 2019 or 2020 tax returns?

The payments will use 2019 income tax returns to determine the amount of each check in advanced payments. Ultimately, your 2020 tax filings are what matter and the amount you receive may be adjusted based on that.

The second stimulus checks will base on your 2019 taxes so that they can go out quickly, but will later be adjusted and ultimately based on your 2020 tax returns.

Q: My marital status changed in 2020, will that affect things?

It won’t for 2020. The IRS will be using your 2019 tax return. If you both filed as individuals and meet the criteria (making $75,000 or less as of 2019 return) then yes, you will receive $600.00 each. If more stimulus comes out in 2021, then being married in 2020 may have an impact, but as of now, no.

Q: I live on Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or other similar benefits. Will I receive a check?

This will be based on your 2019 tax return. If you filed a return, then yes you will likely get stimulus based on the information the IRS has in that return.

Our experts said that social security payments will be treated the same way as income. So long as a recipient is making less than $75,000 as an individual or $150,000 as a couple, they should receive the full amount.  

Q: If I owe child support, will my stimulus be put on hold or not given to me at all?

This time around, no. Parents who owe child support will not have any or all of their stimulus garnished or taken away this time around. That was the way it was the first time around, but that's not going to be the case for this round of stimulus.

This new bill does not allow a bank, a state, or a credit agency to collect stimulus for any debt like child support or rent.

Q: In 2019 I did not have custody of my child (children) but I did in 2020, will I receive the $600 for them in the second stimulus check?

If you are caring for, or have custody of, children that are meet the eligibility requirements for a stimulus payment, the money will be directed to the person who is claiming the child (children) as a dependent on their 2019 tax return.  

If you are a family member caring for these children, the $600.00 stimulus payment will go to the person claiming them, even if the children are not living with that person. If custody is court-ordered, in the eyes of the IRS, the money goes to the person claiming them.  This is true in marital separations and divorces this year.  It all goes back to the most recent tax return that claims those children (under 17) as a dependent.


Q: We had a baby in 2020, does that change things?

New parents will not receive a check for their newest member of the family because the stimulus checks are based on 2019 tax filings. However, these parents will be able to receive this money eventually, when they file their 2020 tax return.  

These families will be able to apply for a Recovery Rebate Credit when filling out their 1040 form.  

On the 1040 Tax Form, line 30 has been added, labeled "Recovery Rebate Credit." If you believe you were underpaid or not paid at all for either yourself or a dependent, this is where one can request a rebate.

Q: We did not receive stimulus the first time for our 15-year-old. How can report this?

First, go back and check the dependent information on your 2019 tax return. The IRS is working from that document. Make sure your 15-year-old is listed as a dependent. If so, then call the IRS

If you are due the money, you can always get credit through the IRS Rebate Recovery program, meaning your tax refund will be higher or you won’t owe as much.

Q: My sister has custody of two grandchildren. Will she get the added $600 for each child?

It depends on who claimed these children as dependents in 2019. Is the custody officially handled through the courts? Or, is it just that the kids are living there temporarily? Whoever claimed these children on a tax return (so long as they are under 17 years old) will receive the stimulus money.

Q: I am retired and my daughter now claims me as a dependent. Will I receive money?

It depends. If you filed a tax return in 2019, you will get the stimulus. If your daughter was claiming you as a dependent in 2019, then no, neither of you will get money because adult dependents cannot be eligible for stimulus. The cut-off age is 17.

Q: If I didn't file in 2019, but have information from tax year 2018, will I still get a second stimulus check using the last tax year that I filed?

Yes, if you did not file a 2019 tax return yet, the IRS will use the most recent return they have on file, starting back with 2018, a tax professional told WCNC Charlotte. You don’t need to let them know, you don’t need to apply for anything, the IRS will handle it. Having said that, giving them more to do might possibly delay your stimulus payment.

A tax professional told WCNC Charlotte that if you filed late but the IRS is in possession of your 2019 tax return, then they will use it.  If they have not processed your 2019 return yet, it’s possible they might default to your 2018 return. The IRS uses the most recent data you have provided them. "While you won’t receive an automatic payment now, you can still claim the equivalent Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 federal income tax return."

For the Recovery Rebate program, click here for more information from the IRS.

If you have complex circumstances beyond this, you may have to seek help from a tax professional.

Q: If I applied online for the first stimulus check, will I automatically get the second one, or do I need to reapply again?

No, you don’t need to reapply. If you received stimulus money in the first round, you’ll get it this time too.

Q: Last time I got my stimulus check right away via direct deposit and now it seems like everyone but me has gotten paid.  Why is it different this time around?

For whatever reason, the checks arrive at different times for different people. If you got direct deposit last time, wait until the end of next week before reaching out to the IRS for help. If you received money by check through snail mail last time, it might be taking longer to get the checks in the mail this time around. Most of the people who have already received their money this round have gotten theirs via direct deposit. 

Q: If I had to fill out the "Get My Payment" form for my first stimulus check, do I have to do it again for the second? Or do they use that info again?

The IRS uses the most recent information they have on file to get you stimulus money. You can double-check on IRS.gov or with a tax professional.

Q: Why isn't my stimulus pending in my account? How do I check the status of it?

The best advice is to track your status through IRS.gov, there is a section that allows you to track your stimulus by your social security number.  Just don’t click on links people send you, make sure you are going to IRS.GOV by your own doing. 

Q: I received my stimulus, but I did not receive additional for my children. They are ages 4,6,10.

If you have them listed as dependents on your 2019 tax return, you should be getting stimulus for them. The total should be $1,800 because it’s $600 each. If you are not getting the money, you need to contact the IRS through their website or try calling them.  Remember, they are overwhelmed, and they too are working home in many cases.

Q:  In this round 2, I have received my $600 payment, but once again, nothing for the children. Do I have to register or re-claim them this time? I thought once they had the info from the first round, it would all be there this time.

It goes back to your 2019 Tax return.  Were the children claimed by you as dependents? If so, and if they are under 17, then you should be receiving stimulus money for them.  If not, then you will have to take it up with the IRS.  Have your social security number ready so that when you get somebody on the phone you have everything you need in front of you.  Some circumstances are unique and might require the use of a paid tax professional.

Q: If I get locked up does that disqualify you from the stimulus check?

A federal judge in California ruled last fall, the IRS did have to issue stimulus to people in prison. So, you are not disqualified from receiving stimulus money if you qualify and if you are, or will be, incarcerated. The IRS website, irs.gov offers specific insight in longer form, and if this applies to you or a family it’s worth reading.

 Q: If I claimed my 34-year-old son on 2019 taxes, will he qualify for future stimulus money if I don't claim him on future income taxes?

If he files his own return going forward and meets qualifications, then he would receive the stimulus payment.

Q: If I didn't file taxes because I was underpaid in 2020, will I still get the stimulus check in 2021?

Most of us haven’t filed takes for 2020 unless you were paying the IRS quarterly.  The IRS uses the most recent data, and for the bulk of the tax paying population, they will be using your 2019 tax return. If you didn’t file in 2019, they will use the most recent data they have from you which would be 2018.

Q: If my under 17 dependent who I filed taxes in 2019. As of May 2020 moved in with his paternal grandparents. If I receive the 2nd round stimulus would I be required to send to the grandparents?

No, you would not be required to send the money to the people caring for the child even if you claimed the child on your tax return, unless there are court orders having to do with custody and financial responsibility.  This is on a case by case basis.

Have a question about the second stimulus check? Text your question to 704-329-3600, and WCNC Charlotte will answer it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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