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It's true, you may not qualify for a third stimulus check. What to know

New stimulus bill amendments would mean more people won't be eligible for the $1,400 check. Here's the latest information.

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The stimulus check rules could change in your favor, or they may leave you out this time around.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Now that the Senate has approved the COVID-19 relief package, the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill could become law as soon as this week. Based on a number of amendments made to the language of the bill (PDF), we now have a clearer idea of who might qualify for the third stimulus check -- along with who wouldn't be eligible for the new, $1,400 payment

Among several changes made by the Senate is a lower income limit for individuals and families, which would disqualify 16 million people, The Hill reported. If the changes stick as part of the updated stimulus check equation, will you receive a new stimulus check in the next several weeks?

Compared with the first two checks, the new round would provide families with a much larger payment this time, especially if you have older dependents (calculate your estimated check total here). We also know several things could change the outcome of your stimulus check, such as filing your taxes early or even waiting until later. Here's who may be left out of receiving a check this time. This story was recently updated.

When you file your taxes might be tied to your stimulus check eligibility

If you're right on the cusp of the income limits described below, when you file your taxes could make the difference between qualifying for a partial check or not. That's because, for many, a third stimulus check would arrive in the middle of tax season. The language in the Senate's version of the stimulus bill (PDF) suggests that the IRS will be directed to base your next stimulus check off your 2019 or 2020 taxes, whichever is on file when it processes your payment.

If you file your taxes early or request an extension, either action could influence which yearly income figures the IRS will use. If you made more in 2020 than in 2019, you might want to file later. If you would be disqualified in 2019, but made significantly less in 2020, filing sooner might be to your advantage. Read more details in our story about which taxes the IRS would use for stimulus calculations.

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Individual taxpayers: No check if your AGI is $80,000 or more

The new stimulus check could begin to phase out after $75,000, per the new "targeted" stimulus plan proposed in the Senate. If your adjusted gross income, or AGI, is $80,000 or more, you won't be eligible for a third payment of any amount. However, if you make between $75,000 and $80,000, you could get a portion of the check. You'd receive the full amount if your yearly income is less than $75,000. Here's how to estimate the stimulus check total you could receive.

Stimulus check proposal for income limits (as of March 6)


Full $1,400 per person maximum (based on AGI) Not eligible (based on AGI)
Individual taxpayer Less than $75,000 $80,000 or more
Head of household Less than $112,500 $120,000 or more
Married couple filing jointly Less than $150,000 $160,000 or more

Heads of household: No check if you have an AGI of $120,000 or more

Similar to the single-taxpayer cutoff, heads of household (people who don't file jointly and claim a dependent) with an AGI of $120,000 or more are excluded under the new proposal. To get a partial stimulus payment, you'd need to make between $112,500 and $120,000. But to get the full amount, you'd need to make less than $112,500 if you're the head of household.

Married couples filing jointly: No check if you have an AGI of $160,000 or higher

If you and your partner are a married couple filing jointly and have an AGI of $160,000 or higher, you won't be eligible for the third stimulus check under the new proposal. To qualify for the full $1,400 payment, your combined household income would need to be less than $150,000. The amount you could receive would phase out after that amount until you reach the cutoff.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Non-US citizens or 'nonresident aliens' wouldn't get a check

If you're considered a nonresident alien by the IRS, you won't be included in the third stimulus check. The government defines a nonresident alien as someone who "has not passed the green card test or the substantial presence test." For example, if you're studying abroad in the US.

With the first stimulus check, noncitizens needed to have a Social Security number and live and work in the US to qualify for a payment. However, the second check amended the rules to allow families with a noncitizen spouse to qualify for a second stimulus check, even if they are issued a taxpayer identification number (ITIN) by the IRS and not a Social Security number. See more below.

During the Senate vote Saturday, Sen. Ted Cruz offered an amendment to also bar undocumented immigrants from receiving a stimulus check, which was voted down 49-50.

Are noncitizens who are married to a US citizen eligible for their own stimulus check?

If you're considered a noncitizen, you may or may not get a stimulus check, depending on a couple of factors. Under Biden's proposal, mixed-status households with at least one family member that has a Social Security number could be eligible for the third stimulus check, assuming they meet the other requirements, including the income limits. 

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Nonfilers will need to take an extra step to get their stimulus money.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What if you reside in a US territory like Puerto Rico?

With the first two stimulus checks, people who live in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands may have been eligible to receive payments. Whether these groups qualified for a check has in the past been determined by the tax authorities in each territory. These agencies were also directed to make the payments. It's likely to be the same situation for the third stimulus checks.

If you never received a payment for one or both of the previous stimulus checks, you'll need to contact your local tax authority to inquire.

I'm a nonfiler and usually don't file my taxes. What does it mean for me?

If you're a nonfiler and typically aren't required to file income taxes, you're probably eligible to receive the third stimulus check. However, if you're missing money from a previous check you may need to take an extra step to get your money by filing your taxes this year. If there's an issue receiving some or all of a third check, it's likely you would need to file a claim during tax season 202 a year from now. We'll know more once a third payment is approved.

What if a family member of mine has died since filing my 2020 tax return? 

It depends on which tax return the IRS uses (see above). For example, if the IRS goes by your 2019 tax return, it's likely you'd get to keep the amount you received for the deceased person. With the first stimulus check, the IRS asked people to return the money for someone who had died since the previous tax filing. With the second check, if your spouse died in 2020 and your AGI was less than $112,500 a year, you would be eligible for the full $600 amount.

We'll know more as soon as a third stimulus check is passed by Congress.

For more information, here's why you should set up direct deposit with the IRS now, four reasons to file your taxes as soon as possible and who may qualify for a third stimulus check.

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