For many of us, the $1200 Economic Impact Payment (EIP) authorized by the CARES Act is old news; I, for example, received my payment in early May. But if you have not received the payment, it is not too late! There are steps you can take to claim the payment! Take these steps by October 15 to avoid further delay.
A first step is to find out if you are eligible. Most adults are eligible if they have a social security number, are not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return and have income below the (generous) income guidelines. Even people who do not need to file a tax return are eligible. This includes people whose main income source is Social Security, or a non-taxable income such as SSI or VA benefits. If you have friends or family members who should receive the payment, help them out by sharing this information!
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) manages the EIP program and maintains a webpage to assist us and keep us informed. They offer two tools. The first is called “Get My Payment.” At this secure IRS site, users enter their social security number, date of birth, and address. Note as long as you are at the real IRS site, you can feel safe entering that information. If you file taxes jointly with a spouse, we suggest you enter the information about the spouse who is listed first on the tax return. The second IRS tool is the “Non-Filers Tool,” designed for those who do not need to file a tax return.
If you use one of the IRS tools but are unclear about what the tool tells you, we can help! ISU Extension and Outreach Human Sciences Specialists in family finance are equipped to help Iowans trouble-shoot the process. Please contact us if you need assistance!
For many people, the first step in claiming the payment is to file their 2019 tax return. Yes, the deadline is past, but you can still file anyway. In many cases, my co-workers and I can connect you with a way to file your tax return for free.
Final Note: it is our understanding that filing a 2020 tax return (starting in February of 2021) will provide one last chance to claim the EIP, and will be used to verify that households received the correct EIP amount. However, we do not yet know how that will work. And why delay?! Take action now to claim this valuable benefit!