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COVID+Credit: When will I get my $1,200 Stimulus Check?

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Americans everywhere have been hit hard by the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, with much of the economy in a holding pattern amid nationwide efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Fortunately for those in need, some short-term economic relief is coming in the form of federal government stimulus checks.

As a part of the record-setting $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved in late March by Congress, most adults will receive a one-time payment of up to $1,200, though the exact amount depends on your income. Adults will receive an additional $500 for every qualifying child age 16 or under, and married couples without children earning below a certain threshold will receive a total of up to $2,400. You do not need to apply to receive a payment.

Now that U.S. government stimulus checks have turned from a dream into a reality, what's the top question on everyone's mind? When will I receive my money? The short answer? It's complicated.

Covid-19 stimulus check eligibility requirements

Before we get into when your money from the government will arrive, you need to know how much money you'll be getting, if any at all.

To determine your eligibility, the Internal Revenue Service will use your 2019 tax return. If you have not yet filed your 2019 taxes, the IRS will use your 2018 return instead. Anyone who has not filed a 2018 return may use a 2019 Social Security statement that shows your income as reported to the IRS by an employer.

If you're a single adult with a Social Security number and your adjusted gross income is $75,000 or less, you'll get the full $1,200. For married couples filing a joint return, the income limit to receive the full $2,400 is $150,000, including an additional $500 for each qualifying child.

For people who earn more than those amounts, the stimulus payment is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers who make more than $99,000 and joint filers with income exceeding $198,000 are not eligible for stimulus payments.

Unfortunately, college students whose parents claim them as a dependent do not qualify for a stimulus check either.

When will you get your money?

The exact date you'll receive your money depends on your circumstances, but the IRS has already begun sending electronic payments to millions of Americans.

The speed with which you'll receive your payment largely depends on how you filed your taxes. The IRS can distribute electronic payments quickly, but they must print and mail paper checks for some recipients, which takes additional time.

On April 15th, the IRS launched a portal to track the status of your stimulus payment. To track your payment, you'll need 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 additional links on the IRS's website to input your information so you can still receive your check.

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

However, if you didn't sign up for direct deposit when filing your tax return and require a paper check, you might experience some delays. In fact, because the government lacks banking information for millions of Americans, $30 million in paper checks won't begin distribution until April 24, or longer.

The IRS plans to mail paper checks to the lowest-income Americans first, starting on April 24 with individual taxpayers earning $10,000 or less, according to an internal IRS proposal obtained by The Washington Post. Next up will be checks for earners of $20,000 or less to be mailed on May 1, followed by checks for people with incomes of $30,000 on May 8 and $40,000 on May 15, continuing in increasing increments of $10,000 each week.

Under the current plan, this process will continue until paper checks are distributed on Sept. 4 to joint taxpayers making the maximum $198,000. All remaining paper checks will be distributed on Sept. 11, primarily to those for whom the IRS did not have prior tax information.

For more information on stimulus payments and eligibility requirements, please visit the IRS's Coronavirus stimulus payment hub. We will update this article as the situation evolves and the payment process begins.

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