April 28, 2020
The “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act” authorized one-time direct payments from the federal government known as Economic Impact Payments (EIPs). Eligible individuals can receive up to $1,200 plus $500 per eligible child under the age of 17. Individuals who filed taxes for 2018 or 2019, and recipients of certain benefit programs, will receive EIPs automatically. The IRS developed an online tool so people who did not file taxes can still receive EIPs, however, people experiencing homelessness have limited access to the internet, a problem exacerbated as public spaces like libraries close to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
We’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions about EIPs to help you navigate some of the benefits in the CARES Act.
WHAT ARE ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS AND AM I ELIGIBLE?
Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) are one-time direct payments from the federal government authorized in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act.
U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who cannot be claimed by someone else as a dependent are eligible. Individuals must have a valid Social Security number and an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000, and married couples who filed their taxes jointly must have an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000 to qualify for the full EIP amount. Married couples filing jointly must also both have Social Security numbers to qualify unless either spouse is a member of the US Armed Forces, in which case only one spouse must have a Social Security number.
Recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and veterans’ benefits, people who do not make enough money to file a tax return, and people who have no income are also eligible if they have a valid Social Security number.
ARE UNDOCUMENTED PEOPLE ELIGIBLE FOR ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS?
Unfortunately, people without a Social Security number, including people who do not have documentation, are not eligible for EIPs. The state of California is using its own funding to provide stimulus checks to undocumented people.
Excluding undocumented people from receiving federal EIPs contributes to systemic racial inequities. More advocacy must be done to ensure everyone can receive assistance, regardless of immigration status.
Read more about eligibility standards here: https://bit.ly/3crUFej
HOW MUCH WILL MY ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT BE?
Individuals who meet the above requirements are eligible for the full $1,200 EIP; married couples who file their taxes jointly and meet the above requirements can receive up to $2,400.
People with children can receive an additional $500 per child if their children have a Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and are under the age of 17. People who earn more than the income limits above can also receive reduced EIP payments.
DO ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS COUNT TOWARDS CALCULATING MY
No. The one-time Economic Impact Payments are technically considered a tax refund. They are not counted as income or assets when determining housing assistance eligibility and amount.
HOW DO I ACCESS MY ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT?
People who filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 and recipients of Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), survivor benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement benefits, or Veteran Administration (VA) benefits do not need to do anything – their $1,200 EIP will be automatically sent to their account or mailed to the address on file with the government.
However, benefit recipients who have not filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 and who have eligible children will need to take an extra step to get their additional $500 per child. On April 20, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefit recipients who have not filed a tax return must register any eligible children by noon on April 22 in order to receive the additional $500 per eligible child. Recipients who miss this deadline will still receive their $1,200 EIP but will need to file taxes for 2020 in order to claim the additional $500 per eligible child. SSI and VA beneficiaries will have more time to claim eligible children because their EIPs will be issued at a later date. This resource will be updated as more information becomes available.
Non-filers can begin the process of claiming eligible children here: https://bit.ly/2xw2jpe
WHAT IF I DIDN’T FILE TAXES BECAUSE MY INCOME IT TOO LOW?
People who earned less than $12,200 or married couples who earned less than $24,400 – including people who had no income and people whose sole source of income was SSI can still get their EIP. You can begin the process here: https://bit.ly/2xw2jpe
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A PERMANENT ADDRESS?
People without a permanent address should ask a trusted family member or friend about using their address or talk to a local service or healthcare provider they trust to see if they can use the organization’s address to claim their EIP.
You can learn more about EIPs here: https://bit.ly/3bggMnR
Additional FAQs & other COVID-19 housing & homelessness resources are available at: https://nlihc.org/coronavirus-and-housing-homelessness