Published and up-to-date as of July 2022.
Please note: this article is about the federal stimulus payments authorized in 2020 and 2021 - visit the IRS website for the most up-to-date news and information about Economic Impact/Stimulus payments.
What is the stimulus check?
As part of several different COVID-19 relief packages, the federal government issued three payments - by check or direct deposit – to millions of income-qualified Americans. This is what we mean by “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment”. The purpose of the payments was to help people cover basic needs when many people were told to stay home and lost income because of the pandemic.
How much were the stimulus checks?
The first round of stimulus checks were paid to people beginning in April 2020. Those checks were up to $1,200 per eligible adult and up to $500 for each dependent child under 16.
The second round of stimulus checks were paid to people beginning in December 2020. Those checks were up to $600 per eligible adult and up to $600 for each dependent child under 17.
The third round of stimulus checks were paid to people beginning in March 2021. Those checks were up to $1,400 per eligible adult and up to $1,400 for each dependent child, regardless of age.
Was I eligible to get a stimulus check?
You were eligible to get a stimulus check and should have gotten the full amount if you filed taxes and had an adjusted gross income of:
- up to $75,000 if single or married filing separately.
- up to $112,500 if you filed as head of household
- up to $150,000 if married and you filed a joint tax return.
What about people making over this amount?
People making more than this amount should have gotten a reduced amount in their stimulus checks.
Generally, if you made more than $99,000 (single filers), $136,500 (head of household filers) or $198,000 (married filers) and did not have children, you were not eligible for the stimulus checks.
How were stimulus checks given out?
You should have already gotten your stimulus checks by mail, direct deposit, or as a credit on your 2020 or 2021 tax return.
What if I didn’t get some or all of my stimulus checks?
If you think you are eligible and you did not get a check for you or your dependents, you can still get the money by filing your 2020 or 2021 taxes. You may be eligible for free tax preparation help from Maine’s CA$H Coalition.
If you do not usually file a tax return and didn't get your stimulus checks, you may still be able to file a tax return this year to get your stimulus checks. You should check with a tax professional. The IRS website also provides information about how to claim your stimulus checks if you didn’t get them in 2020 or 2021. You can also call Pine Tree Legal Assistance.
Do people collecting retirement, Social Security Retirement, Railroad Retirement, Disability, or Veterans Benefits qualify for stimulus checks?
Yes, people who collect retirement, Social Security Retirement, Railroad Retirement, Disability, or Veterans Benefits are eligible for stimulus checks.
What if I did not make enough to file a tax return or did not have an income? Am I eligible?
Yes, even if you do not have to file a tax return you can still collect any Stimulus Checks owed to you by filing a federal tax return.
If I owe someone money, can they take my stimulus checks?
Maybe. Anyone filing a 2020 or 2021 income tax return to claim stimulus checks will receive the money as a tax refund. Stimulus checks should not be kept by the IRS for back tax debt.
If you owe a debt to a different federal or state agency your tax refund could be taken by that agency before you get it. This is sometimes called a “garnishment” or “offset”
If you have a question about a garnishment or offset for a student loan debt, a debt related to public benefits (like Food Stamps or TANF), or a federal tax debt you can call Pine Tree Legal Assistance.
What should I do if I didn’t get the full amount I am owed or if I have another problem with my Stimulus Checks?
If you didn’t get your stimulus checks, even after filing your 2020 and 2021 tax returns, or if you have another problem with your Stimulus Checks you can call Pine Tree Legal Assistance. We may be able to help.