Guide to Economic Impact Payments
We’ve worked to break down the most common questions about the Economic Impact Payments, including how much you’re eligible to receive and when you can expect to receive it.
Note: If you’re not typically required to file taxes, you may still be eligible and need to take steps to claim your payment. You have until November 21 to use the IRS’s . Find out how.
For most people, the payment was directly deposited into your bank account, sent to you by check, or sent to you on an EIP debit card.
No matter how you receive your payment, the IRS will send you a letter in the mail—to the most current address they have on file—about 15 days after they send your payment to let you know what to do if you have any issues, including if you haven’t received the payment.
Here's what else you need to know about Economic Impact Payments:
Find out if you qualify and how much you’ll receive
To qualify for a payment, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien
- Not be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return
- Have a valid Social Security Number (SSN). Learn more about options if you don't have an SSN
For most people, the IRS will use information from your 2019 or 2018 tax return or information that you provide to see if you qualify for an Economic Impact Payment. If you are not required to file taxes because you have limited income, even if you have no income, you are still eligible for payment.
If you qualify, your Economic Impact Payment amount will be based on:
- Your adjusted gross income
- Filing status
- The number of qualifying children under age of 17
You will receive either the full payment or a reduced amount at higher incomes.
If you're single or married but filing separately
You are eligible to receive the full payment if your adjusted gross income is below $75,000 and a reduced payment amount if it is more than $75,000 The adjusted gross income limit for a reduced payment is $99,000 if you don’t have children and increases by $10,000 for each qualifying child under 17.
- If your adjusted gross income is below $75,000, you’ll receive the full $1,200. You will also receive $500 for each child under the age of 17 you claim on your taxes.
- If your adjusted gross income is above $75,000, you’ll receive an amount that will be reduced by $5 for every $100 in adjusted gross income above $75,000.
- If your adjusted gross income is more than $99,000 and you don’t claim any children under the age of 17, you won’t receive an Economic Impact Payment. This limit will increase to $109,000 if you have one child, $119,00 if you have two children, and an additional $10,000 for each child after that.
If you're head of a household
You are eligible to receive the full payment if your adjusted gross income is below $112,500 and a reduced payment amount if it is more than $112,500. The adjusted gross income limit for a reduced payment is $136,500 if you don’t have children and increases by $10,000 for each qualifying child under 17.
- If your adjusted gross income is below $112,500, you’ll receive the full $1,200. You will also receive $500 for each child under the age of 17 you claim on your taxes.
- If your adjusted gross income is above $112,500, you’ll receive an amount that will be reduced by $5 for every $100 in adjusted gross income above $112,500.
- If your adjusted gross income is more than $136,500 and you don’t claim any children under the age of 17, you won’t receive an Economic Impact Payment. This limit will increase to $146,500 if you have one child, $156,500 if you have two children, and an additional $10,000 for each child after that.
If you're married and filing jointly
You are eligible to receive the full payment if your adjusted gross income is below $150,00 and a reduced payment amount if it is above $150,000. The adjusted gross income limit for a reduced payment is $198,000 if you don’t have children and increases by $10,000 for each qualifying child under 17.
- If your adjusted gross income is less than $150,000, you’ll receive the full $2,400. You will also receive $500 for each child under the age of 17 you claim on your taxes.
- If your adjusted gross income is above $150,000, you’ll receive an amount that will be reduced $5 for every $100 in adjusted gross income above $150,000.
- If your adjusted gross income is more than $198,000 and you don’t claim any children under the age of 17, you won’t receive an Economic Impact Payment. This limit will increase to $208,000 if you have one child, $218,000 if you have two children, and an additional $10,000 for each child after that.
In some cases, if you receive certain benefits, you will automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment. The IRS is working to make it easier for certain beneficiaries to receive the Economic Impact Payment by using information from benefit programs to automatically send payment.
You will qualify for this automatic payment only if:
- You were not required to file taxes in 2018 or 2019 because you had limited income; and
- You receive one of the following benefits:
- Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability (SSDI) from the Social Security Administration
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from the Social Security Administration
- Railroad Retirement and Survivors from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board
- Veterans disability compensation, pension, or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs
If you qualify for an automatic payment, you will receive $1200 ($2400 if your spouse also receives the benefit). You will receive this automatically the same way you receive your benefits, either by direct deposit or by check. You will not need to take any further action to receive this.
If you qualified for automatic payment through a benefit program but you also have dependent children under the age of 17, you may need to provide the IRS with information about your dependents to receive additional payment. You can do this directly using the but check the IRS portal for information on when the deadline is to submit this information for your specific program.
To receive your payment quickly, enter your payment account information so that your payment will be directly deposited into your bank or credit union account or prepaid card. If the deadline has passed, the IRS says you can still claim the additional payment before the end of 2020 or when you file your taxes next year.
If you receive one of these benefits but have either filed your taxes in 2018 or 2019, or plan to in 2019, because you receive additional income through a pension or another source, you’ll receive your Economic Impact Payment based on your 2019 tax return, or your 2018 return if you haven’t filed for 2019.
In almost all cases, a person is only eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment if they have a Social Security number (SSN). There are two exceptions to this:
- If you or your spouse is a member of the military, only one of you needs a valid SSN.
- If you have dependent child under the age of 17 who is adopted and has an “Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number” (ATIN), you will receive the $500 child payment.
The beneficiary’s Economic Impact Payment will arrive in the same way they either receive their monthly benefits or their tax return for 2019 or 2018.
- If the beneficiary didn’t file a 2019 or 2018 tax return, they’ll receive their EIP payments the same way they receive monthly Social Security or SSI payments. This may be through direct deposit to their banking account or Direct Express card, or a mailed paper check.
- If the beneficiary did file a 2019 or 2018 tax return, the payment will be deposited to the same bank account or debit card as the most recent tax refund or mailed to the address on the beneficiary’s last tax return.
Discuss the Economic Impact Payment with the beneficiary
A representative payee is only responsible for managing Social Security or SSI benefits. The Economic Impact Payment is not an SSA benefit and belongs to the beneficiary. Discuss the payment with the beneficiary, and if they request access to the funds, you’re obligated to provide it.
The Economic Impact Payment doesn’t affect eligibility for income-tested benefits
The Economic Impact Payment is a tax credit. That means it shouldn’t be counted as income and shouldn’t affect the beneficiary’s eligibility for income-tested benefits. As long as the payment is spent down within 12 months of the date it was received, it also won’t count against resource limits for Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs, SSI, SNAP, or Public Housing benefits.
Nursing homes and assisted-living facilities can’t take the Economic Impact Payment for the first 12 months
Since the payment doesn’t qualify as a resource for Medicaid purposes until 12 months after it was first received, nursing homes and assisted living facilities should not require residents to sign over their payment until this period has passed. If you believe a nursing home or assisted living facility has improperly taken the payment from you or a loved one, .
Your Economic Impact Payment will not be subject to most types of federal offset or federal garnishment as a result of defaulted student loans or tax debt. However, the payments are still subject to federal garnishment if you’re behind on child support. The payments may also still be subject to State or local government garnishment and also to court-ordered garnishments.
Find out how you’ll receive the payment
For most people, you will not need to take any action and the IRS will automatically send you your payment. For some people who are eligible for a payment, the IRS will need more information from you first before they can send you money.
You will do this using one of two different IRS portals. It is important that you provide this information using the right IRS portal so that the IRS can process your information quickly.
If you already filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes
Go to the IRS “” portal to check the status of your payment. This portal will let you know if your payment has been processed and let you know if the IRS needs more information before sending you your payment.
If your payment has already been processed, the IRS does not need any more information from you at this time.
If you paid additional taxes when you filed your tax return, it is possible that the IRS does not have your payment account information to direct deposit your payment. You can provide that directly in the "Get My Payment" portal so that they can process this information and send you your payment.
If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information and you don’t provide it to them, your payment will be sent to you by check to the address they have on file.
If you don't typically file taxes
If you don’t typically file taxes because you have limited income which doesn’t require you to file, you will need to submit information to the IRS first so that they can send you your payment.
Economic Impact Payments will either be directly deposited into your bank account or a check will be mailed to you.
If you received a tax refund
If you received a refund through direct deposit with your most recent taxes (2019 or 2018), the IRS has your bank account information on file, and they will send your Economic Impact Payment directly to that account.
If you owed taxes
If you paid taxes with your most recent filing (2019 or 2018), you may be able to provide your bank account information to the IRS through the tool to receive your payment through direct deposit if your payment has not already been processed and to check the status of your payment.
If you don’t receive the payment through direct deposit, you’ll receive a check to the address the IRS has on file.
If you provided information using the IRS non-filers portal
If you provided your personal information to the IRS using the , your money will be direct deposited into the bank or credit union account or prepaid card that you provided when you submitted your information. If you did not provide payment account information, a check will be mailed to you to the address you provided.
If you filed your taxes in 2018 or 2019 and owed taxes when you filed, the tool may allow you to provide your banking account information so you can receive your payment through direct deposit if your payment has not already been processed, as opposed to a check in the mail.
If you filed your taxes but received a refund that was directly deposited, you will receive the refund in the same account and will not be able to update this information at this time. You can check the portal to also track the status of your payment and see if the IRS is requesting further information from you to process your payment.
If you are being asked to provide banking account information and would like to receive payment on your own prepaid card, enter your card’s direct deposit routing and account number directly in the portal. Check your account online or call the card provider to find out if your prepaid account is eligible to receive direct deposit, which is the fastest way to receive the payment.
Find out how taxes affect your payment
If you received a refund through direct deposit with your latest tax return (either 2019 or 2018), the IRS will directly deposit your money into this account, and they won’t need your updated address. If you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes yet, the IRS will receive your updated address through your tax return. The IRS is encouraging people to use these electronic methods for providing this information as they are unable to process other requests for an address change at this time due to the pandemic.
Yes. If you didn’t file 2018 or 2019 taxes this year, you can still claim the EIP by filing a tax return in 2021.
If you are required to file a tax return, there may be free or low-cost options for filing your return. If you need someone to help you to file, it’s important to choose a reputable tax preparer that will file an accurate return. Mistakes could result in additional costs and complications in the future.
If your 2019 adjusted gross income was less than $69,000, . Review each company's offer to make sure you qualify for a free federal return. Some companies offer free state tax returns, but others may charge a fee.
In order to receive your payment this year, the IRS requests eligible individuals and families to file a simple return through the by November 21, 2020. If you miss this deadline you can also file a 2020 tax return next year to receive the payment in 2021.
The tool will request the following basic information to check your eligibility, calculate and send the Economic Impact Payments:
- Full names and Social Security numbers, including for spouse and dependents
- Mailing address
- Bank account type, account and routing numbers
How to use an Economic Impact Payment prepaid debit card
If you recently received an Economic Impact Payment prepaid debit card from the government in the mail, do not throw this card away. You will need this card to access your Economic Impact Payment.
You must first activate your card by phone before you can use it. Once activated, your money is safe and secure on the card. Be sure to immediately report if your card is lost or stolen.
Here are some common questions and tips to help you access your money and use your card, including how to do so with limited fees.
This is not a scam. The government is sending some people Economic Impact Payment Cards if they qualified for a stimulus payment and the IRS couldn’t direct deposit the payment.
Your Economic Impact Card will come in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services” along with important information about the card, instructions for activation, fees, and a note from the U.S. Treasury. The card itself will have the words “VISA” and “DEBIT” on the front and the issuing bank, “MetaBank, N.A.”, on the back and should look like this:
You will need to activate your card, either online or by phone. You will receive only one card for your household and the primary cardholder must activate the card.
If you are the primary cardholder:
- Call 1-800-240-8100 (TTY: 1-800-241-9100)
- Provide your name, address, and social security number to validate your identity
- Create a 4-digit PIN so you can get cash at the ATM. If you forget your PIN, you can call customer service to get a new one
- Check the balance to know how much you received
Once you activate your card, you can start using your card immediately. There is no monthly or inactivity fee and your money does not expire. You do not need to pay this money back and do not have to pay taxes on this money.
There are multiple ways you can check your balance 24/7 for free, including through push notification, text, or email. If you typically check your card balance at the ATM, try to use one of these options to avoid paying a balance inquiry fee.
There are several ways to get cash from your card without paying a fee.
- Use one of the In-Network AllPoint brand ATMs to withdraw cash. Use the ATM locator at or Money Network® Mobile App to locate one near you. Limits may apply to the amount of cash you are able to withdraw at ATMs.
- Get cash-back at participating merchants, like grocery and convenience stores. If the merchant allows cash-back during a purchase, select “Debit” on the keypad, enter your 4-digit PIN, select “Yes” to get cash-back, and then enter the amount of cash you would like. Check the merchant’s policies on amount limits.
- Request a Money Network Check and cash it at select participating check cashing locations. Go to to find the nearest participating check cashing locations. To avoid a fee, cash only Money Network Checks and only at participating check cashing locations. Limits may apply.
Tip: If you already have a bank or credit union account that you are comfortable using to access cash for free, you can also transfer money from your card to this personal account and then withdraw cash in the same way you normally would once it is available.
- To transfer to a personal bank or credit union account, you will need to provide your routing and account number for your personal account.
- To transfer to an existing personal prepaid card, first check if your personal prepaid card accepts transfers by logging into your account or calling your card provider. If it does, provide the routing and account number for your personal prepaid card.
Tip: In many cases, peer-to-peer (P2P) apps—like Venmo or Paypal—will accept your Economic Impact Payment Card as a source of funding. Check with the P2P provider for specific instructions on if you can do this for free.
You can pay rent, bills, or other payments from your account using a Money Network Check without paying a fee.
To do this, you need to:
- Request a Money Network Check by calling customer service at 1-800-240-8100
- Check your balance to make sure you have enough funds to cover your payment
- When you receive the check, fill out the date, dollar amount, and name of who you are paying
- Activate your check by calling customer service at 1-800-240-8100 and following the instructions to enter the check number, digit, and amount, and record the issuer number and transaction number provided by the automated phone system
- Once you have successfully activated your check, the payment will be immediately deducted from your account balance and you can send your payment for your rent or other bill
Tip: If you occasionally pay a bill with a money order, consider using a Money Network Check to pay your bill instead to avoid paying a money order fee.
The Economic Impact Payment Card is a VISA prepaid debit card. The government has loaded your Economic Impact Payment onto the card for you. You do not need to pay this money back and you will not be taxed on this money. Once activated, your money is safe on this card and is eligible for FDIC insurance.
If you have had a checking account debit card or credit card before, this card may be a little different. First, this card is not linked to any bank or credit union account and will not have any impact on your credit score or help you build your credit. You cannot overdraft or spend more than what has been loaded on the card. If you don’t have enough money to cover a purchase, the transaction may be declined or partially authorized. If this happens, you may be asked to use another form of payment to pay the full or remaining amount if you want to complete the transaction.
You can get cash, request a check, or make a purchase anywhere VISA debit cards are accepted. Each time you use your card, the amount will be deducted from your balance until you use all your funds. You will not be able to load your own money on this card and your money will not expire. If you do not use all your money before the expiration date printed on the card, you can call customer service to request a refund check for the remaining balance.
Tip: If you use this card to pay for gas, give your card to the attendant to pre-pay for gas rather than paying at the pump to avoid a pre-authorization. A pre-authorization puts a temporarily hold on your money that could be greater than the transaction amount and may take up to 10 business days to be released back to you. Paying the attendant to pre-pay for gas can help you avoid placing a hold on your money so that you have access to your money if you need it.
If your card is permanently lost, stolen, or accidentally thrown away call customer service at 1.800.240.8100 (TTY: 1.800.241.9100) to report your lost or stolen card immediately. Your card will be deactivated so nobody can use it and you will be able to order a new replacement card. Your first replacement card is free and additional replacement cards are $7.50 (an additional $17.00 if you need it expedited).
Beware of scammers pretending to be the IRS
With the rollout of Economic Impact Payments, there’s an increased risk of scams. It’s important to stay vigilant and aware of unsolicited communications asking for your personal or private information—through mail, email, phone call, text, social media or websites—that:
- Ask you to verify your SSN, bank account, or credit card information
- Suggest that you can get a faster payment if they fill out information on your behalf or if you sign over your check to them
- Send you a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, and then ask you to call a number or verify information online in order to cash that check
It’s important to remember that the Internal Revenue Service will never ask you for your personal information or threaten your benefits by phone call, email, text or social media.
If you receive an unsolicited email, text or social media attempt that appears to be from the IRS or an organization associated with the IRS, like the Department of the Treasury Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, notify the IRS at email@example.com. You can also learn more about coronavirus-related scams.