Stimulus check qualifications: Find out if you're eligible for $1,400 or more
The rules aren't the same for who qualifies for a third stimulus check this time around. Here's how to find out if you're eligible to receive the $1,400 payment.
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The requirements for the third payment have changed significantly from the first and second checks. For example, there are new income limits and rules for age, citizenship and tax status that can affect the size of your payment. We'll walk you through what those qualifications are to help you determine whether you should expect a check -- or whether you'll be completely left out. (And here's how to calculate the amount to expect.)
Important: Third stimulus check qualification details
The third stimulus checks now going out open up more avenues for people to claim a payment -- so long as their yearly earnings in 2019 or 2020 fall within the brackets for receiving the third check. These new payments come with changes to the income limit for individuals and families who'd qualify for a full stimulus payment -- it isn't the same as it was for the first two rounds of checks approved in 2020. Check out the chart below for more and use our stimulus calculator to estimate how much you could get.
Third stimulus check: Qualifications
What the law says
An AGI of less than $80,000 to qualify for any payment amount
Head of household
An AGI of less than $120,000 to qualify for any payment amount
Couple filing jointly
An AGI of less than $160,000 to qualify for any payment amount
Dependents of all ages
$1,400 apiece, no cap -- but only if guardians make under the above limits
Families with mixed US citizenship
Provided they meet other qualifications
US citizens living abroad
Yes, same as first two checks
Citizens of US territories
Yes, same as first two checks, with payments handled by each territory
SSDI and other tax nonfilers
Yes, but may require an extra step to claim (more below)
Yes, included this time
People who owe child support
Checks can't be garnished to cover past due payments (more below)
Not covered by law
"Resident aliens" aren't included
Noncitizens who pay taxes
Depends on "mixed-status" rules (more below)
Social Security, SSI, SSDI, veterans: What you need to know about eligibility and your stimulus payment
Recipients of the first check received their payments through a non-Direct Express bank account or as a paper check sent in the mail. In the December bill, these recipients again qualified to receive payments, along with Railroad Retirement Board and Veterans Administration beneficiaries.
Watch this: Stimulus check 3: How much money you'll get
Are my dependents eligible with this check?
As a rule, dependents are not eligible for their own checks, but they do contribute to the total your household can receive. In many cases, it can multiple your family's total. (Here's who the IRS considers an adult who receives their own check.)
With the second stimulus check approved in December, each child dependent -- age 16 and younger -- added $600 each to the household payment. There was no cap on how many children you could claim a payment. That was an increase in the amount per child from the $500 that was part of the first check approved last March as part of the CARES Act, even as the per-adult maximum decreased from $1,200 per adult to $600 in the December stimulus plan.
Citizenship: Does the IRS consider my household mixed-status?
The new stimulus bill includes all mixed-status households where just one member has a Social Security number for a third stimulus check. That potentially includes families with citizen children and noncitizen parents.
In the CARES Act from last March, households with a person who wasn't a US citizen weren't eligible to receive a stimulus check, even if one spouse and a child were US citizens.
Eligibility details for noncitizens and the $1,400 stimulus payment
The CARES Act made a Social Security number a requirement for that first stimulus payment. Though other proposals would've expanded the eligibility to those with an ITIN instead of a Social Security number because they're classified as a resident or nonresident alien, this group was excluded in the final bill text that authorized a second stimulus check in December as well.
The new bill expands the qualifications to include all mixed-status families -- where at least one member has a Social Security number -- for a third check.
Can past-due child support affect my stimulus total?
One more exception for people who are missing payments of any amount and need to claim the stimulus money as a Recovery Rebate Credit in their taxes: The protection from garnishment laid out in the second check doesn't extend to catch-up payments made in the Recovery Rebate Credit, according to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent government agency that works with the IRS. That means that all or part of stimulus money received this way could potentially be seized to pay outstanding debts. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is urging the IRS to keep rebate credits intact.
Taxes and stimulus check eligibility: The two go hand-in-hand
For most people, taxes and stimulus checks are tightly related. For example, the most important factor in setting income limits is your AGI, which determines how much of the total stimulus payment you would be entitled to receive. The same holds true with a third stimulus check.