Folks who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation and pension benefits are entitled to a stimulus check. If you receive SSI and VA benefits but do not file a tax return, you can get your $1,200 payment without taking an extra step.

If, however, you receive SSI or VA benefits AND you do not usually file a tax return AND you also have a child or children under 17, you must act by today, May 5, 2020, to receive the $500 payment for each qualifying child with your $1,200 payment. If you miss the deadline, you will receive your $1,200 payment, but you will need to wait until next year to file a tax return to get money for your qualifying child.

Here’s what you have to do. If you receive SSI or VA benefits AND you do not normally file a tax return AND you have qualifying children under the age of 17, click over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website’s Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here online tool by May 5. You’ll be asked to add each qualifying child’s information.

A qualifying child is someone who:

  • Is your child, stepchild, eligible foster child, sibling, half-sibling, stepsibling, or descendant of one of those, including your grandchild, niece, or nephew.
  • Can be claimed as a dependent on your tax return.
  • Was younger than 17 at the end of the 2019 tax year.
  • Is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien.
  • Has a valid Social Security number (SSN) or an adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN).

Also, if you’re married, you must use the IRS Non-Filer tool to claim the full $2,400 payment as long as your spouse didn’t receive Social Security (disability or SSI) benefits, Railroad Retirement Board benefits, or VA benefits in 2019, if your spouse did not have to file a tax return in the last two years.

You may have a dependent over the age of 17, including a student who lives with you or a parent. Unfortunately, you won’t get money for those dependents. If they’re claimed as a dependent, they also aren’t eligible for their own check.

You will normally receive your check the way that you receive your benefits. However, if you are a Direct Express card holder and you use the Non-Filer Tool to enter dependent information, you will not receive your automatic $1,200 payment on your Direct Express card. You will receive both your $1,200 payment and each child’s $500 payment on a non-Direct Express bank account you can provide, or by mail if you leave bank information empty. This is only true if the IRS has not already processed your $1,200 payment.

If you do not use the Non-Filer Tool, you will receive your automatic $1,200 payment on your Direct Express card, and you will need to file a tax return next year to get a $500 payment per eligible child.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.


  1. Debbie Peterkin Reply

    Will the IRS hold the entire stimulus check if you owe child support

    • Kelly Reply

      It depends on the amount that you owe. But unlike the caps on benefits, they do have the right to seize the entire check.

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