COVID-19 has ushered in a new normal—likely impacting your personal finances. These strategies can help you take control of your money during this time.
Updated June 1, 2020, at 3:50 p.m. CT
You might soon receive a stimulus payment from the government to help lessen the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
Payments started arriving April 15. So far, more than 130 million Economic Impact Payments have been delivered. And millions more are on the way.
The week of May 18, the U.S. Department of the Treasury began issuing stimulus payments on prepaid cards to those without bank account information on file with the Internal Revenue Service.
The payments were authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. We’ve broken down the most common questions about these economic impact payments and other questions you might have about the CARES Act:
- Who will receive stimulus payments?
- Who isn’t eligible?
- When will I receive my payment?
- How can I check the status of my payment?
- How does the IRS determine where to send payments?
- What if my bank or credit union account number is closed or no longer active?
- What if I don’t usually file a tax return?
- How do I get my money off of my prepaid card?
- How should I use the payment?
- How do I know it’s the IRS contacting me?
- What should I do if I think my stimulus payment was stolen?
- How does the CARES Act help my retirement savings?
- I’m unemployed. Can the CARES Act help me?
- Can the CARES Act help with my rent or mortgage payments?
- I’m a small business owner. How does the CARES Act help me?
Who will receive stimulus payments?
The CARES Act was signed into law March 27. The emergency $2 trillion economic recovery package includes funding for individuals and small businesses.
The Internal Revenue Service said eligible individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for head of household filers and $150,000 for married filing jointly are eligible for the full $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married filing jointly.
If your income is above these amounts, your payment will be reduced by $5 for each $100 above the thresholds.
You also might be eligible for the economic impact payment if you’re a:
- Recipient of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans’ benefits
- Taxpayer who doesn’t normally have to file a tax return
If you’re a parent, you’ll receive an additional $500 for each qualifying child.
Who isn’t eligible?
The IRS said you likely won’t qualify for a payment if your adjusted gross income is greater than:
- $99,000 for single or married filing separately
- $136,500 for head of household
- $198,000 for married filing jointly
You’re also unlikely to receive a payment if you:
- Can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return (you’re a child, student or older dependent who’s claimed on a parent’s return)
- Don’t have a valid Social Security number
- Are a nonresident
When will I receive my payment?
Most payments will be distributed automatically.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury started depositing millions of payments into recipients’ bank or credit union accounts April 15. Electronic payments will continue to arrive weekly, according to the Federal Reserve.
The Treasury also began mailing paper checks, starting with a pay date of April 24. These checks will continue to mail daily—with about 5 to 7 million mailed each week—until all of them have been delivered, the IRS said.
The check’s memo field states “Economic Impact Payment” on the first line and the president’s name on the second line. See an example of the check below.
Want to know whether your payment is hitting your Dupaco account this week?
From the menu in Shine, select Direct Deposits and then click on the Future tab to see whether you have a future payment from “TAX REF IRS TREAS.” It will also notify you when the payment will post to your account.
You can also use Shine to be alerted when your stimulus payment becomes available. From the menu, select eNotifiers. Under Activity Alerts, enable All Transactions to receive email or text messages for all transactions to your account, including your stimulus deposit.
Within 15 days of your payment being made, the IRS plans to mail a letter about your payment to your last known address. It will provide information on how your payment was made and how to report any failure to receive it.
How can I check the status of my payment?
If you don’t see your economic impact payment in Shine, you can use the IRS’ Get My Payment tool to check on your payment’s status.
You can use the tool to:
- Find out your payment amount.
- Check its scheduled delivery date.
- Confirm your payment type: Direct deposit or check.
- Enter your bank or credit union account information for direct deposit if the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information and hasn’t yet sent your payment.
- Learn if your payment hasn’t been scheduled.
The IRS announced that you needed to use the tool by May 13 for a chance to get a quicker delivery.
After that time, the IRS began preparing millions of files for paper checks, which are expected to arrive through late May and into early June. If you use the Get My Payment tool before the cut-off, you can still take advantage of entering your direct deposit information to avoid receiving a paper check.
“The Get My Payment application will return ‘Status Not Available’ if you are not eligible for a payment or we don’t have enough information yet to provide a status,” the IRS said.
Having a copy of your most recent tax return on hand while using the tool can help speed the process, the IRS said.
You’ll need to provide your:
- Social Security Number
- Date of birth
- Mailing address used on your tax return
If you need to add your bank or credit union account information, you’ll also need to provide:
- Your adjusted gross income from your most recent tax return submitted (2019 or 2018).
- The refund or amount owed from your latest filed tax return.
- Bank or credit union account type, account and routing numbers.
Note: The IRS said you cannot update your bank or credit union account information after your payment has been scheduled for delivery. To help protect against potential fraud, the tool also does not allow you to change account information already on file with the IRS.
Get My Payment is updated once daily, usually overnight.
How does the IRS determine where to send payments?
If you received direct deposit of your refund based on your 2019 or 2018 tax return, the IRS used that information to calculate your payment and has sent your payment to the bank or credit union account you provided on your most recent tax return.
If you filed your 2019 or 2018 tax return but didn’t receive your refund by direct deposit, or you owed tax, you can provide your bank or credit union account information through the IRS’ Get My Payment tool before your payment is processed.
Direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your payment, the IRS said. Otherwise, your payment will be mailed to the address that the IRS has on file.
If you’re a retiree who receives either Social Security retirement or Railroad Retirement benefits, you’ll also receive your payment automatically—even if you didn’t file tax returns in 2018 or 2019, the IRS said. You’ll receive your payment the same way you normally receive your benefits. But if you have dependent children, you must act quickly to receive the additional $500 per eligible child with your payment. Learn more here.
What if my bank or credit union account number is closed or no longer active?
If the bank or credit union account number used on your recent tax return is closed or no longer active, the financial institution will reject the electronic deposit, and you’ll instead be issued a check, the IRS said.
The check will be mailed to the address the IRS has on file for you, either from your most recent tax return or through the U.S. Postal Service.
“You do not need to call the IRS to change your payment method or update your address at this time,” the IRS said.
What if I don’t usually file a tax return?
If you think you’re eligible, but don’t normally file a tax return, you can provide the IRS with your payment information using the Non-Filer tool.
If you receive federal benefits, didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and have dependents, you’ll need to act quickly to receive your full economic impact payment this year.
The IRS on April 24 announced that payments will start soon for those receiving Supplemental Security Income and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits who didn’t file a tax return in the last two years.
You’ll get the $1,200 automatically, but you needed to act by May 5 to have the extra $500 per eligible child added to the same payment.
Otherwise, your payment at this time will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child will be paid upon filing a return for tax year 2020. Once your $1,200 payment has been issued, you can’t use the Non-Filer tool to add eligible children.
If you receive Social Security retirement or Railroad Retirement benefits and didn’t file a tax return in the last two years, you had until April 22 to add your dependent information with the online tool.
With the Non-Filer tool, you’ll need to provide basic information, including:
- Full name, current mailing address and an email address.
- Date of birth and valid Social Security Number.
- Bank or credit union account number, type and routing number, if you have one.
- Identity Protection Personal Identification Number you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one.
- Driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one.
- For each qualifying child: Name, Social Security Number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse.
How do I get my money off of my prepaid card?
The week of May 18, the Treasury began issuing stimulus payments on prepaid cards to those without bank account information on file with the Internal Revenue Service.
Each mailed card includes instructions on how to activate it before the card can be used. To create a PIN or get balance information, you can call 800-240-8100.
You have a few ways to access your money on these cards:
- Using an ATM is the best and quickest way. Use this locator to find fee-free ATMs. Dupaco’s ATMs are out of network, so the card will charge a fee at Dupaco machines.
- Use a Dupaco drive-up lane and ask to run your card as a cash advance to fund your Dupaco account. You’ll need to bring a valid photo ID.
- You can transfer money directly off the card by creating an account at the Economic Impact Payment Card webpage. But the funds won’t be available immediately.
- Use Shine to transfer money from the card into your Dupaco account. Here’s how: Log into Shine, then click the account you’d like to fund. Select “transfer in,” and select “external accounts/cards” to enter your card information.
- Call Dupaco at 800-373-7600 to pull money from your card to fund your account, pay loans and more.
- You can use the card for purchases in stores.
If you call Dupaco or use Shine to access money on your card, it won’t be available immediately. But if you make your transaction before 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, your funds will be available the same day after 4 p.m. Otherwise, your funds will be available the next business day after 4 p.m.
How should I use the payment?
If you don’t need the money for immediate necessities, consider how you could make the money work for you.
Here are a few ideas:
- Pay down high-interest debt.
- Save for retirement through an Individual Retirement Account.
- Save year-round for the holidays with Dupaco’s Holiday Club.
- Save for your goals with You-Name-It Savings Accounts.
- Save for your children through a 529 college savings plan.
How do I know it’s the IRS contacting me?
Fraudsters are also paying attention to the latest updates on the stimulus payments—and would like to get your money before you do.
The IRS and Federal Trade Commission said to keep these things in mind to avoid other scams related to your economic impact payment:
- The IRS will NOT contact you to ask you to pay a fee or confirm personal information.
- The IRS will NOT send you an overpayment and make you send money back in cash, gift cards or through a money transfer.
- The IRS will NOT call, text or email you.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has also warned to watch for scams during this time:
“If you receive calls, emails or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond. These are scams.”
You can protect yourself further with Family ID Restoration, a special coverage designed to help you recover from identity theft.
If you or an immediate family member fall victim to identity theft during this time—or any time—Family ID Restoration coverage will provide you:
- Personalized help from a certified resolution specialist.
- Assistance restoring your identity with credit bureaus, the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Postal Service, the police department, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Internal Revenue Service and your financial institution.
The coverage costs $1.95 per month. You can learn more here.
What should I do if I think my stimulus payment was stolen?
You can report it to the FTC and IRS at the same time, the FTC announced May 4.
Go to IdentityTheft.gov and click “Get started.” The next page asks, “Which statement best describes our situation?” Select “Someone filed a Federal tax return—or claimed an economic stimulus payment—using my information.”
You’ll answer some questions to complete your form and submit it electronically to the IRS. Then IdentityTheft.gov will give you a recovery plan with steps you can take to help protect yourself from further identity theft.
Only use the tool to report suspected identity theft, the FTC said.
How does the CARES Act help my retirement savings?
The CARES Act might offer you more than a stimulus payment. Your retirement savings also might get some help with the emergency economic recovery package.
I’m unemployed. Can the CARES Act help me?
The CARES Act expands states’ ability to provide unemployment insurance for workers impacted by the pandemic, including benefits for those who don’t typically qualify.
Can the CARES Act help with my rent or mortgage payments?
If you’re at risk of eviction or foreclosure in Iowa, you might be able to receive financial help through the CARES Act.
Governor Reynolds allocated federal CARES Act funds to assist Iowans facing housing hardship due to a documented COVID-19-related loss of income on or after March 17, 2020, according to the Iowa Finance Authority.
Reynolds announced the COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program on May 29. The program provides eligible Iowans:
- Rental assistance for up to four months beginning with April 1 rent payment ($3,200 maximum). This includes manufactured home rent and lot rent.
- Mortgage assistance beginning with April 1 mortgage payment ($3,000 maximum).
You can access the eligibility guidelines and application here.
I’m a small business owner. How does the CARES Act help me?
The emergency CARES Act economic recovery package includes funding for small businesses.