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Stimulus payments are on their way—here's what to know, mama

It's coronation day! Wait... no... it's Economic Impact Payments day!

stimulus payments

The week we've all been waiting for has arrived. No, it's not the week that we all go back to normal (or better), or the week that distance learning and a lack of child care magically become easier for working parents to manage, or even the week that we finally acknowledge the incredible load that the coronavirus outbreak has placed on pregnant women and mothers.

It's the week that the government stimulus checks promised under the CARES Act begin to be distributed to Americans. When and how will you get your payment, and how much should you expect?


How to find out where your stimulus check is

The stimulus checks, also called Economic Impact Payments, are being distributed by the IRS, and the IRS.gov website has launched a tool called Get My Payment that allows you to check on the status of your payment if you filed federal taxes in 2019 and/or 2018. The tool is now live. You should be able to check your status, confirm whether your payment type is check or direct deposit, and update your direct deposit information, if applicable.

If you did not file taxes in 2018 or 2019, you can go to the IRS.gov website (right now! do it right now!) to enter your payment information in order to receive your payment.

When will my stimulus check arrive?

Payments started going out electronically on April 11, according to the IRS Twitter account. The first group of people to receive their Economic Impact Payments are mostly households whose direct deposit information is already on file with the IRS from their 2018 or 2019 tax return. Taxpayers with direct deposit information on file should receive their payment by the end of April, without having to do anything (nice!).

According to statements from the House Ways and Means Committee, as reported by the Motley Fool, the next group of payments in late April will be to government benefit recipients whose direct deposit information is on file, followed in early May by taxpayers getting their stimulus payment via paper checks, which should start going out May 1 at a rate of about 5 million per week.

A paper check is by far the slowest way to get your payment, so when the Get My Payment tool launches on Friday, it's a good idea to make sure your family's direct deposit information is on file.

Who is getting a stimulus check?

Eligible taxpayers who filed income tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment. You can check your eligibility here, but basically, tax-filing individuals making less than $99,000, head of household filers making less than $136,500 and married couples filing jointly who made less than $198,000 will automatically receive a payment. The eligibility requirements also include retirees, people who didn't have enough income to file taxes and people receiving disability, veterans' or Social Security benefits.

People who are not eligible to get a stimulus check include nonresident aliens, anyone who can be filed as a dependent on a return and anyone who does not have a Social Security number. Taxpayers with an adjusted gross income in 2019 above a certain threshold also won't qualify, depending on their filing status:

  • $99,000 if your filing status was single or married filing separately
  • $136,500 for head of household
  • $198,000 if your filing status was married filing jointly

How much will the stimulus check be?

That depends on your adjusted gross income on your taxes. Here's what to expect:

If you are single or married filing separately, you should get:

  • $1,200 if you make less than $75,000
  • A "reduced payment" based on your specific income if you make between $75,000 and $99,000
  • $500 for each child you claim as a dependent on your return
If you filed as "head of household," you should get:
  • $1,200 if you make less than $112,500
  • A "reduced payment" based on your specific income if you make between $112,500 and $136,500
  • $500 for each child you claim as a dependent on your return
If you are married and filed jointly, you should get:
  • $2,400 if the two of you together make less than $150,000
  • A "reduced payment" based on your specific income if you make between $150,000 and $198,000
  • $500 for each child you claim as a dependent on your return

What can I do if I'm worried about paying my bills right now?

The outbreak has been incredibly hard on families everywhere, and financial insecurity is a huge stress on top of the anxiety of living through a global pandemic. While you wait for your stimulus check, we want you to know that there are numerous additional resources available to families in financial distress right now, and ways to stretch every dollar of that economic impact payment.

If you are out of work right now, unemployment insurance is available at higher rates for a longer period, and more people qualify under the CARES act, including part-time workers, freelancers, people on furlough and people who were recently laid off. If you are unable to work because your child's daycare or school was closed, for example, you are eligible for unemployment under the new provisions. And if you have been forced to accept reduced hours, you're eligible, too.

If you are having a hard time finding diapers, formula or other baby essentials, please check out these resources. And if you and your family need help with groceries, please see this list of ways to find low-cost food during the pandemic.

We're with you.
<p> Siobhan Adcock is the Experts Editor at Motherly and the author of two novels about motherhood, <a href="https://www.siobhanadcock.com/" target="_blank">The Completionist</a> and <a href="https://www.siobhanadcock.com/the-barter" target="_blank">The Barter</a>. Her writing has also appeared in Romper, Bustle, Ms., McSweeney's, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, The Chicago Review of Books and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter. </p>

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