Economic Relief Checks

The American Rescue Plan will provide economic relief in the form of direct cash payments to many Americans. Here's what you need to know:

The American Rescue Plan provides a new round of one-time direct payments, also called “recovery rebates” or “economic impact payments,” to eligible individuals and families in New York.

Who is eligible?

  • Generally, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and you are not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s income tax return, you are eligible to receive a payment if you fall within the relevant income thresholds.
  • If you file your taxes as an individual and your annual income is $75,000 or less, you are eligible for a full payment of $1,400.  If you earn between $75,000 and $80,000, you are eligible for a reduced payment.
    • For married couples who file joint returns, you are eligible for a full payment of $2,800 if your joint annual income is $150,000 or less.  If you earn between $150,000 and $160,000, you are eligible for a reduced payment.
    • If you are a single parent or caretaker and file as a head of household, you are eligible for a full payment if your annual income is $112,500 or less, and a reduced payment if you earn between $112,500 and $120,000. Your payment amount will depend on how many children you have.
    • If the credit amount determined by your 2021 tax return exceeds the payment amount you received (which will be based on your 2020 or 2019 tax return), you can claim the difference on your 2021 tax return.  If, on the other hand, you receive a larger payment than the maximum credit allowed based on your 2021 tax return information, you will not be required to repay any amount.
    • In general, taxpayers without an eligible social security number are not eligible for the payment.  However, married taxpayers filing jointly where one spouse has a Social Security Number and one spouse does not are eligible for a payment of $1,400, in addition to $1,400 per child with a Social Security Number.

How will I receive my payment?

  • If you have direct deposit information on file with the IRS, you will receive the payment that way. If not, you will receive the payment in the mail as a check or debit card, sent to the address provided on your 2020 or 2019 tax return, whichever is the latest on file with the IRS.
  • If you are eligible for a direct payment and you filed a tax return for 2020 or 2019, you will receive this payment automatically.
  • If you are a Social Security Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance beneficiary, Supplemental Security Income recipient, Railroad Retirement beneficiary, or Veterans Administration beneficiary, you will receive this payment automatically.  If you did not file a 2020 or 2019 tax return but you receive any of these benefits, you will receive the payment the same way you normally receive your benefits.
  • If you applied through the non-filer portal for the first round of Economic Impact Payments, and received a payment, you will receive this payment automatically.
  • If you are eligible to receive a direct payment, Treasury will send notice by mail to your last known address as soon as practicable.  The notice will indicate the method by which the payment was made, the amount of the payment, and a phone number for a point of contact at the IRS to report any failure to receive your payment.
    • If you are eligible but you do not receive a payment for any reason, you can claim the payment by filing a 2020 tax return in 2021 (it will be called the Recovery Rebate Credit on the 2020 Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR).

How will the IRS calculate my payment?

  • The payment will be based on your latest processed tax return, either from 2020 or 2019
    • If you did not file a tax return in 2019 or 2020, the IRS will use the information entered through the IRS’s non-filers tool last year or submitted through a simplified tax return in 2020
    • If you filed your 2020 tax return electronically, it is possible the IRS has processed it and will use it for the ARP payment
    • If you filed a paper return, the IRS may be delayed in processing it because of the backlog of paper returns and will use your 2019 return
  • If you already receive Social Security benefits, SSI benefits, VA benefits, or Railroad Retirement benefits, the IRS will use that information to automatically calculate your payment

How much will I receive?

  • The payment is $1,400 per eligible family member: $1,400 per taxpayer ($2,800 for married couples filing jointly), in addition to $1,400 per dependent, including both children and non-child dependents. An eligible family of four will receive $5,600.
  • This rebate phases out for adjusted gross incomes between $75,000 and $80,000 for single filers, $112,500 and $120,000 for heads of household, and $150,000 and $160,000 for married couples filing joint returns. Your income is based on your 2020 or 2019 tax return, whichever is the latest on file with the IRS.
    • If your income exceeds the phase-out threshold, your credit amount will be reduced proportional to your income in excess of the phase-out threshold, divided by $5,000 (individual), $10,000 (married couple), or $7,500 (single head-of-household)
    • No payments will go to: single filers earning more than $80,000; joint filers earning more than $160,000; and single head-of-household filers earning more than $120,000.  

When will I receive my payment?

  • On March 12, the IRS began making ARP direct payments, and the funds will start to become available starting on March 17, 2021
    • Payments mailed as checks or debit cards will take longer
    • The IRS will not add value to an existing debit card, but issue you a new debit card for this payment

Is there a place I can check to see where my stimulus payment is and when it is arriving?

Yes. Go to this page on the I.R.S. website.

Will I have to apply to receive a payment?

No. If the Internal Revenue Service already has your bank account information from your 2019 or 2020 return, it will transfer the money to you via direct deposit based on the recent income-tax figures it already has.

Do I need have income or earnings to receive a rebate?

No, there is no income floor or phase-in of the rebate. People receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are eligible. Also, Rebates will not be counted as income for income-conditioned programs like Medicaid, SSI or SNAP.

Do I need a Social Security Number to receive a rebate?

Yes, in general, only members of your family with a Social Security Number (SSN) are eligible for a rebate. Unlike previous rebates, this third rebate goes to children with SSNs even if their parents lack SSNs. The Rescue Plan also provides rebates to a spouse without an SSN if the taxpayer is an active member of the military.

If my payment doesn’t come soon, how can I be sure that it wasn’t misdirected?

According to the relief law, you will get a paper notice in the mail no later than a few weeks after your payment has been disbursed. That notice will contain information about where the payment ended up and in what form it was made. If you couldn’t locate the payment at that point, it would be time to contact the I.R.S. using the information on the notice.

For more information, please regularly check the IRS’s portal for updated Frequently Asked Questions, payment status, and other information as it becomes available.