The money comes nearly eight months after the first round of stimulus payments, worth up to $1,200 per person, was sent as part of a larger coronavirus relief package passed last March. Many of the same people will receive the money again, but there are some minor differences in eligibility.
Recipients may have already seen a direct deposit in their bank account on December 29, but the money officially became available on January 4.
Paper checks or debit cards are sent to those who do not already have a bank account with the Internal Revenue Service. The checks also went out last week.
Some people may not receive the money in the same way as in the first round. If you received a preloaded debit card last year, the payment will not be credited to that card. You will receive a new card by post or a paper check.
The law requires the Internal Revenue Service to stop making payments after January 15. Those who have not made payment by then will have to wait to claim it on their 2020 tax returns. The money will either increase your refund or decrease the tax you owe. If the payment has been transferred to an old bank account, you will also have to wait to file your tax return to receive the money
Who is eligible?
Eligibility is largely based on income. Individuals who earn less than $75,000 per year receive the full $600. Household heads who earn less than $112,500 and married couples who collectively earn less than $150,000 also owe the full amount. They will receive $600 per child under 17, which is $100 more than in the first round.
Payments begin to taper off for those making more money, at a rate of $5 per $100 of additional income. Some people who received the first payment may be phased out of the second round because the payments are smaller.
Undocumented immigrants who do not have a social security number are not eligible for the payments. But in a change from the first round, their spouses and children are now eligible as long as they have a Social Security number.
Those claimed as dependent on someone else’s tax return, such as some college students, are not eligible.
Lost your job? You may be able to claim more money
Both the first and second round of benefits are based on 2019 adjusted gross income. That means someone who has seen their income drop drastically in 2020 may be eligible for more money than they first got.
If so, they can claim a “Recovery Rebate Credit” on their 2020 tax return. The credit rating and amount of credit is based on income for the 2020 tax year, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Anyone who may have earned more in 2020 than in 2019 does not have to repay money already received.