To qualify for a payout, you have to be a U.S. resident with a social security number. You don’t need to have paid any taxes recently, but you must have at least filed your paperwork or fall under one of the special eligibility categories such as receiving SSI.
Have you filed 2019 taxes?
yes
Filing status
single
How many dependents?
Income in 2019 (AGI)
$
You will receive
$
How much more will you get?
How many dependents under 17?
You would receive
$

This calculator was last updated on Jan. 6, 2021. We will continually update the tool as new information gets published.

This calculator is based on the CASH Act of 2020, which is a proposal to amend the second round of stimulus checks to $2000 per adult and dependent instead of $600. It was passed by The House of Representatives on December 28, 2020, and has has not been voted on by the Senate.

On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 which contained the $900 billion relief bill and $600 relief checks under a subtitle called COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020. The day after, President Trump criticized the $600 relief checks in a video on Twitter, stating “I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple.”

Although the $600 relief checks in the "COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020" made it through to be signed by the President on December 27, 2020, the House was scrambling last week to put together an amendment to increase the amount to $2000 under the new directive.

The new bill proposal is called "Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help Act of 2020" or CASH Act of 2020. It amends the $600 tax rebates provided in the "COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020" to $2000 for single earners and $4000 for married couples. More surprisingly, the rebate amount for dependents was increased from $600 to $2000 as well. One has to wonder if increasing the dependent amount was necessary as it wasn't explicitly part of the President's directive and could have jeopardized the bill's chances of being considered in the Senate. The bill also expands the eligibility criteria for dependents, so while the original bill limited extra funds to children below 17 years of age (like the CARES Act), the amendment would mean that dependents of all ages would qualify for an additional $2000 each.

On December 28, 2020 the CASH Act of 2020 passed in the House with bipartisan approval of 275 - 134. In order for it to become law, it still has to pass in the Senate and be signed in by the President. You can follow the progress and read the text of H.R.9051 at the Library of Congress.

During the House debate on the bill, representatives from both parties explained that the CASH Act of 2020 should not be considered a "stimulus" payment, but a relief bill. Its primary purpose is not to stimulate the economy, but to help Americans across the board who are currently struggling to make ends meet.

Summary of amendments

The CASH Act of 2020 makes two major amendments:

  • The $600 is increased to $2000 for single earners, $4000 for married couples, and $2000 for each dependent.
  • The eligibility for dependents is expanded to include dependents of all ages instead of limiting it to children under 17 years.

How does the calculator work?

To check how much you would be eligible for if the amendment bill passes, all you need to do is fill out a couple of fields:

  1. You need to have filed your tax return in 2019 or fall under one of the special eligibility categories such as receiving SSI.
  2. Pick your filing status - either single, married, or head of household (applicable in the case of single parents or couples with a single earner, for instance).
  3. Input the number of dependents you reported on your last tax form. Unlike the CARES Act which limited relief to dependents under 17 years of age, this time all dependents are eligible for relief payments under the proposed bill.
  4. Input your AGI (adjusted gross income) - you can find it on your tax form.
  5. That's it - the calculator will tell you how much you'd be likely to receive!

Who is eligible for the relief check? Where do you sign up?

All working Americans (that is, those that filed their last tax return) or those on Social Security will be considered, similar to how they were considered in the CARES Act. Admittedly, not everyone will get financial support, since the amount given depends heavily on your yearly income. However, since the base payment amount has been increased to $2000, the money will phase out at a higher income so people who didn't get a check under the CARES Act might get one this time.

The COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 states that if your status is a "nonresident alien" (that is, someone who has not passed the green card test or the substantial presence test), you would not be eligible for the relief check. The bill summary explains that even if you did not file 2019 taxes, you may still be eligible:

"Treasury may issue advance payments for Social Security Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans Administration beneficiaries who did not file 2019 returns based on information provided by the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Veterans Administration."

The authorities will get all the information they need to send the money from your tax return. That means that you don't need to fill out any documents or stand in a long queue. Once calculated, the sum will be transferred to you using the information provided in your tax return. If there is no information for a direct transfer, they will mail you a coronavirus relief check. As you might have expected, that option is bound to take longer.

COVID-19 relief check: How much will I get?

While the income brackets of the new bill are the same as the previous CARES Act, the amounts you will receive will be different:

  1. The more you earn, the less you get. Every American that earns $75,000 a year or less is eligible to receive $2,000. If you earn more than that, the relief check will be proportionally lower (5% or $5 for every $100 of additional income). This means that the benefits will phase out at a higher income than the CARES Act since the base benefit amount is larger.
  2. There's additional money for every child. A married couple or a single parent can obtain an extra $2,000 for every dependent of any age (this is $1,500 more than the CARES Act's $500 per child dependent).
  3. The support for married couples is calculated together. This means that a couple is eligible to receive $4,000 if their total income doesn't exceed twice the number mentioned for a single person, i.e., it is not higher than $150,000. We still add the $2,000 for every child and again, their checks will be reduced on a sliding scale. If only one spouse has an SSN, the couple will still be eligible for a payment of $2,000.
  4. In special cases, such as being a single parent, the rules are less strict. If you qualify as the "head of household," you are eligible for $2,000 if you earn up to $112,500. Similarly to the first point, the more you exceed that number, the less you will get.

FAQ

Do I qualify for the relief payment?

Every American that filed their 2019 tax return, will get a check as long as they fall within the qualifying income brackets. Even if you didn't file taxes in 2019, you may be eligible under certain categories. The bill summary states:

"Treasury may issue advance payments for Social Security Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans Administration beneficiaries who did not file 2019 returns based on information provided by the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Veterans Administration."

How much will I get?

The sum you receive depends on your yearly income, your marital status, and the number of dependents that you have. For specific calculations, we encourage you to try out our COVID-19 relief check calculator for yourself.

Where do I apply to get the payment?

You don't. If you've included your bank account number in your recent tax return, you'll receive a direct transfer. If not, the authorities will mail you a check.

How to claim the tax relief payment?

The payment will be transferred directly to the bank account you've included in your recent tax return. If you haven't included any, you'll get a check by mail.

Do I have to pay it back?

No, it's yours forever.

Will the payments be taxed?

No, you pay no income tax on the amount received, as it comes in the form of a tax credit.

What if I didn't file taxes in 2019?

Even if you didn't file taxes in 2019, you may be eligible under certain categories. The bill summary states:

"Treasury may issue advance payments for Social Security Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans Administration beneficiaries who did not file 2019 returns based on information provided by the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Veterans Administration."

What if only one spouse has an SSN?

The house summary of the bill confirms that if only one spouse has an SSN, the couple would still be eligible for a payment. If the amendment passes this amount would be $2,000.

Why is the calculator phasing out at a higher income than for the CARES Act?

The new bill uses the same phase-out principle as the CARES Act, which was a 5% reduction for every dollar of income greater than the limit. If the base amount of $600 is increased to $2,000, this will be greater than the previous amount of $1200 in the CARES Act. Therefore, it will phase out phase out at a higher income cap since the 5% rule stayed the same.

Does the CASH Act give $600 or $2,000 per dependent?

A look into the bill text's wording shows that indeed, dependents would receive $2000 each:

"Section 6428A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as added by the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020, is amended by striking “$600” each place it appears and inserting “$2,000”, and by striking “$1,200” each place it appears and inserting “$4,000”."

This means that a family of four who earned less than $150,000 would receive $8,000 instead of $2,400. The money would also phase out at a higher earning bracket since the 5% reduction rule over the income limits didn't change.

Jasmine J Mah
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