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Stimulus Payments – What To Expect and What To Do

Monday, 13 April 2020 04:00
A man putting money in his wallet after receiving his stimulus payment

American taxpayers are starting to see the federal government’s Economic Impact Payments – aka stimulus payments – deposited into their savings and checking accounts.

When is the money coming?

  • Check Your Status: You can check the status of your stimulus payment on the IRS website. If your direct deposit information is not in taxpayer records at the IRS, you will be asked to provide it. You'll need the CAP COM routing number (221373273) and your account number in order to potentially receive the funds faster as a deposit to your account.
  • CAP COM deposits: Stimulus deposits made to CAP COM accounts are posted once each day, first thing in the morning. You do not need to check back until the next day.
  • Starting the week of April 13, 2020: 60 million payments are scheduled to be distributed in the weeks ahead through direct deposit using bank information from the latest tax return.
  • Starting the week of May 4, 2020: The IRS will begin sending paper stimulus checks to people who don’t have direct deposit information on file with the IRS.
  • Thereafter: Approximately 5 million paper checks will be issued each week.
  • As of May 20: The IRS has begun to send some Economic Impact Payments on a prepaid debit card (rather than a check). Here are details from Question 45 of the Economic Impact Payment Information page: Some payments may be sent on a prepaid debit card known as The Economic Impact Payment Card  The Economic Impact Payment Card is sponsored by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, managed by Money Network Financial, LLC and issued by Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank®, N.A. If you receive an Economic Impact Payment Card, it will arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.”  The Visa name will appear on the front of the Card; the back of the Card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A. Information included with the Card will explain that the card is your Economic Impact Payment Card.  Please go to EIPcard.com for more information.

No action is needed by taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees.

Learn More. See additional payment info from the IRS and these FAQs.

How much money can I expect?

According to the IRS Economic Impact Payment Information Center webpage, each tax filer with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals will receive $1,200. Married couples filing joint returns with adjusted gross income up to $150,000 will receive $2,400. Some individuals and families are also eligible for up to $500 for each qualifying child.

The payment amount is reduced on a sliding scale for filers above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income over $99,000 (and $198,000 for joint filers with no children) are not eligible.

Many taxpayers can expect $1,200 each. The Washington Post has made available a stimulus calculator you can use to figure out what you can expect.

For people who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount. If you have not yet filed your 2019 return, the IRS will use information from your 2018 tax filing to calculate the payment. The Economic Impact Payment will be deposited directly into the same bank account reflected on the latest return filed.

Senior citizens, Social Security recipients, and railroad retirees who are not otherwise required to file a tax return will receive a payment automatically. The IRS will use the information on Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099 to generate Economic Impact Payments to those recipients.

The IRS is updating important information at IRS.gov/coronavirus.

Do I have to do anything?

If you already filed your 2019 or 2018 tax return and have direct deposit information on file with the IRS, then you don’t need to do anything.

However, some taxpayers who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment. If your household income is below $69,000, you can file for free using IRS Free File.

Beware of scams

Because there is a lot of money involved, scammers will be working hard to steal some.

CAP COM’s risk department is already hearing of the scams starting with text messages, emails, and phone calls. “They’re preying on our members when they are most vulnerable,” they said.

Some tips and things to watch out for:
Be patient. The U.S. government is processing the payments over several weeks, so not everyone will get the money right away.

Beware anything that is urgent. Scammers offer money upfront in exchange for bank information then send counterfeit checks. Some will promise to expedite your government funds if you send them $200 or more.

Websites asking for your bank information. Beware a message telling you that the government tried to deposit your money but couldn’t because the bank information is wrong. Scammers invite victims to visit a website and update their bank information.

Service members in a foreign country. Scammers are pretending to be members of the U.S. military who cannot receive their money from the IRS because they’re in a foreign country. They want to come home to their family, but they need help – and your money. They’ll ask you urgently send your stimulus money to bring them home.

Invitations to match the money. Scammers are sending invitations to victims to match the $1,200 funds if you give them personal information, including your bank information or your username and password for financial transfer apps such as Cash App, PayPal, or Venmo.

Advances on your funds. Some legal businesses will also try to benefit from the crisis by offering advance funds until you receive your relief payment. Look at the agreement and interest rate. Often, it’s a loan advance with interest rate of 30% or more. If you need a loan until you receive your Economic Impact Payment, CAP COM is offering an Emergency Relief Loan of up to $2,500 at a low fixed rate with no payments for up to 90 days.

What to do with the money

If you’re not sure what to do with your Economic Impact Payment, here are some ideas:

  1. First and foremost, take care of your immediate needs – food, housing, medicine. These stimulus checks are meant to help families who are impacted by COVID-19, and in emergency situations, basic life needs come first. Look into deferring loan payments, too, so that you can cover those basic needs.
  2. Reduce your debt – pay off bills and lower debt on credit cards. This can help you reduce or remove the recurring interest that grows on credit card balances.
  3. Start or add to your emergency fund. Experts recommend that your emergency fund should equal the amount of money you spend on expenses for three to six months. This stimulus check can help build that fund. You can save in your primary savings account, a Members’ Choice account, Money Market, or certificate.
  4. Make donations. If you don’t need the government stimulus check, there is plenty of need out there, such as food banks.
  5. Pay your taxes. It may sound ironic to give the money back to the government, but if you owe taxes, the deadline to file has been pushed back from April 15 to July 15, and this check might be your way to pay off what you might legally owe in three months.