This is a difficult time for a lot of people financially and otherwise. Business closures due to social distancing initiatives have put millions of people out of work, and that number is likely to climb. This type of hardship is something that we recommend having an emergency fund for, but at this point, that may be impossible.
Fortunately, Congress is helping us out.
Economic Impact Payments
In response to this current financial stress, Congress has passed a stimulus package to help Americans make it through this financial hardship.
Most people who qualify for this payment will receive it automatically. The government will just use the direct deposit information from your tax return to send you this money.
If you, for whatever reason, do not file tax returns, you’ll need to file a simple tax return in order to receive the stimulus payment.
The goal of this stimulus is to help those who are most likely to be in financial hardship because of the COVID-19 emergency. That’s why Congress has put in place certain criteria so that the money can get to the right people.
Here’s how the stimulus money will be distributed:
If you’re an individual who makes less than $75,000 or a married couple which makes less than $150,000, then you’ll qualify for the full amount.
If you make more than that, the payment will be reduced by $5 for every additional $100 you earn. Individuals and married couples with no children who make more than $99,000 or $198,000 respectively will not qualify for a payment.
Taxpayers who meet these criteria will receive a baseline of $1200 for individuals and $2400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each dependent minor. Subtract the deductions due to a higher salary, and you’ll know how much of a payment you can expect to receive.
How do I get the stimulus payment?
As mentioned above most qualified individuals will receive the money without any action on their part.
If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information, you can use the web-based portal that they will be developing in the coming weeks. That way, you won’t have to worry about using the mail.
If you don’t normally file a tax return, for whatever reason, but still qualify for this payment, visit IRS.gov/coronavirus. That site will soon have simple instructions for those who don’t usually file taxes If it doesn’t already.
If you would like more information on this stimulus package, please visit https://www.irs.gov.
How should I use the stimulus payment?
This is a blanket stimulus package that automatically goes out to every qualifying taxpayer. That means that some people will receive the extra funds even if they are financially unaffected by the Coronavirus. Others receive it and have been dramatically affected by it. That just means that how people use this payment will vary depending on their circumstances.
If you’ve been negatively impacted by this economic downturn, then use this money for basic needs. Be very careful with how you spend it. We don’t know how long finances will be hard, and you should rely on government help as little as possible.
You may receive a payment from the government even if you aren’t in tough financial times. If that’s the case, you should still use this money wisely. This is a perfect time to start an emergency fund if you don’t have one, as well as tackle some outstanding debts.
If you have an emergency fund and no debt, this is a great opportunity to invest in your retirement. A few thousand dollars can go a long way when it has years or decades to let interest compound.
What We’re doing
We understand that times are tough, and we want to help. That’s why we’ve implemented our hardship program. This program gives us a system to pause payments, lower payments, or pause interest accruals for those who qualify.
Individual cases are different, and this program will vary depending on your situation. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.