Still missing your $500 per child stimulus check? You’re not the only one. In response to complaints that check recipients are still missing out, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reopening the registration period for some folks who didn’t receive those $500 per child payments earlier this year.
In March of this year, the CARES Act was signed into law. A key feature of the law was individual checks for families of $1,200 per adult – or $2,400 for married couples filing jointly – and an additional $500 per child. Checks were based on 2018 or 2019 tax return filings (whichever you filed last). But that created a problem for those folks who didn’t usually file a tax return: how would they get their stimulus checks? In April of 2020, the IRS announced a new web tool to make that happen.
Payments to folks who receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement benefits, and Veterans Affairs Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefits and did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 were supposed to be automatic. Those folks initially did not need to register since the IRS worked with the respective agencies (like Social Security Administration and Veterans Affairs) to push out those checks.
However, many of those checks did not include the $500 per child payments. To fix that problem, the IRS urges those federal benefit recipients to use the Non-Filers tool starting August 15 through September 30.
This doesn’t apply to everyone:
- If you receive Social Security, SSI, Department of Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries and you have already used the Non-Filers tool to provide information about your qualifying children, no further action is needed. The IRS will automatically make a payment in October.
- If you receive Social Security, SSI, Department of Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries and you do not have qualifying children, no further action is needed.
But if you receive Social Security, SSI, Department of Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries and you have not already used the Non-Filers tool to provide information about your children, you need to act now. If you register within the window, you should receive your “catch-up payment” of $500 per eligible child by mid-October. If you don’t register by the September 30 deadline, you’ll have to wait until 2021 and claim the $500 as a credit on your 2020 return.
There’s another deadline that non-filers should also be aware of: October 15. Millions of low-income people and others who aren’t required to file a tax return may still be eligible for a stimulus check. Those folks can register for a payment by using the Non-Filers tool on the IRS website. Some non-filers might have overlooked registration because of confusion related to an early version of the CARES Act. In the March version initially proposed in the Senate, taxpayers needed to be working or receiving Social Security or pension income to qualify for a check. However, the final version of the CARES Act – the one that is now law – does not require earned income, nor the filing of a tax return to qualify for a check.
The Non-Filers tool will remain available through the summer and fall. However, to receive your payment by the end of the year, you must register by October 15.
The Non-Filers tool is available in both English and Spanish and is targeted to people with incomes typically below $24,400 for married couples, and $12,200 for singles.
However, if you are eligible to receive special tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, you cannot use this tool. That’s because to claim those credits, you have to file a tax return. That means that you’re not a non-filer and will need to file a regular return by using IRS Free File or by another method.
Again, keep in mind that the Non-Filer tool is only for those who do not have a tax filing obligation. If you’re simply looking for information, use Get My Payment to check on your payment status.
As earlier, if you miss the deadline, you’ll have to wait until 2021 and claim the $500 as a credit on your 2020 return.
A recent oversight report confirmed that the IRS correctly computed the amount due for 98% of the stimulus checks issued. But some issues are still popping up. The IRS is also working to solve other common stimulus check problems. If you haven’t received your check – or it’s the wrong amount – check this article for what to do.