You could receive more than $1,200 directly to your bank account.

3 minute read

Updated: 12:08 p.m. ET Apr. 16, 2020

The IRS began issuing economic stimulus checks this week and it’s causing a bit of confusion. Here are a few things to clear up:

1. You will still get a stimulus check even if you defaulted on your federal student loan repayments.

Private student loan collectors can garnish your wages, but some are offering borrowers relief through deferment and forbearance. Check out How COVID-19 Will Impact Your Student Loan Repayments to see if your lender is offering any help.

2. Stimulus checks are not loans from the government and are not expected to be paid back. The money you receive will not be considered taxable income on next year’s return.

3. The IRS launched the Get My Payment tool on its website to track when you’ll receive a direct deposit of the stimulus check. Payments are being sent out based on the bank account information provided in tax filers’ 2018-2019 tax returns.

If you made changes with your bank, update that information with the Get My Payment tool.

4. It was estimated that 80 million checks went out yesterday, meaning it may take some time before everyone who qualifies to receive one. Paper checks have not been mailed out yet, according to CNBC.

Expect to wait a few months for those.

After a month of debate, America’s largest emergency aid bill is on its way.

The government will spend $2 trillion trying to stabilize the country after the spread of COVID-19. Here’s what benefits it could give you and your family.

Stimulus payment

The stimulus check you’ve been hearing about has been finalized. But it turns out that you could get more than that – or less, or nothing at all.

To qualify for the full payment, you need to:

  • Have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less as a single adult.
  • Earn $112,500 or less if you file as the head of household.

If you’re married with no children, both of you can receive $2,400 if you earn $150,000 or less. But if you have children under 16, you earn $500 more per child.

If you don’t fit these qualifications, you may still be paid some money, although it won’t be the full $1,200. The amount you get goes down before stopping at an income of $99,000 for single people and $198,000 for married people with no children.

And if you’re claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, you get nothing.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expects most Americans to receive their checks in April. You’ll receive a notice in the mail after the money has been disbursed.

If you’re confused about how much you may receive, you can use this calculator to find out.

Unemployment benefits

More than 3 million people have filed for unemployment as the pandemic continues to sink stocks and put people out of business.

Full-time and part-time workers who have filed for unemployment benefits will receive an extra $600 a week from the federal government until July 31.

But that’s on top of state unemployment benefits, which vary – the maximum weekly payment in Alabama is $275, while Massachusetts’ is $875. The amount of weeks that your state would normally pay you unemployment benefits, which also varies, has also been extended by 13 weeks. To find out what your state offers, check out this list.

Workers who would normally not be eligible for unemployment benefits, such as independent contractors, freelancers, and other self-employed people, can now receive them. The payment will vary based on previous income, and they will receive the federal government’s extra $600, too.

You also don’t actually have to be unemployed to receive these benefits. You just have to be unable to work due to coronavirus concerns, even if your company still has you listed as an employee.

Retirement accounts

Normally you can’t take more than half your balance out of your 401(k) or other retirement plans, but COVID-19 has halted that rule.

Until Sept. 23, you can take out a loan of up to $100,000 instead of $50,000 without the usual 10% penalty if you can prove it’s for pandemic purposes. If you were supposed to pay back one such loan by Dec. 31, you also get an extra year to do so.

As for the income taxes you’d have to pay for taking out the loan, you can spread them out over three years to the date of the disbursement.

The proof you need to supply varies. It counts if you, a spouse or a dependent tested positive, or if you can prove other economic consequences, such as losing your job. Your employer may also let you take out money anyway.

Nobody over 72 and a half has to take out a required minimum distribution anymore for all of 2020, either.

Student loans

The U.S. Department of Education previously offered a 60-day student loan payment deferment due to the pandemic, but the new bill offers even more.

Until Sept. 30, your payment is automatically suspended if it came from the federal government. You won’t be charged interest, either, and nobody will have to face debt collection actions like wage, social security benefits, and tax refund garnishment.

No loans are being waived, however – they just paused.

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About the Author

Hope Dean

Hope Dean

Hope Dean is a senior studying journalism at the University of Florida. She works as the enterprise editor at the Independent Florida Alligator and previously worked at the Florida Atlantic University student-run newspaper the University Press as the news, features and managing editor.

Published by Debt.com, LLC