$600 stimulus check qualifications: Income limit, age, more – CNET

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We now have a good idea who will be eligible for a second stimulus check and what changes.


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On Sunday night, President Donald Trump signed a relief bill that provides $900 billion in stimulus aid, which includes a second stimulus check, among several other programs and provisions. With Congress and the president signing off on the new check, we can work out who would and wouldn’t qualify for the a second payment.

And while the legislation is official, the amount of the second stimulus check may not be. Trump is pushing for $2,000 instead of $600 per person. The House approved the $2,000 check amount on Monday, and the Senate may vote by Friday.

Changing the stimulus payment maximum is an important measure of how much money your household can expect to get paid. But so are other qualifications that have shifted in the second stimulus check and who may not be eligible to get the second stimulus payment, which we will explain. Also check out our chart below, which explains which groups of people may get a $600 second stimulus check, and generate a personal payment estimate with our stimulus check calculator. We update this story regularly with new information.

The next stimulus payment lowers the income limit ceiling, unless…

The coronavirus rescue bill has now been signed into law, setting the income limits for a $600 second check will stick closely to the first, with a few adjustments. As with the first direct payment under the CARES Act, the income limits are based on your adjusted gross income, or AGI. If the total changes from $600 to $2,000, here are some calculations to help you get a sense of what to expect. Otherwise, we’ll keep talking about the $600 maximum in the current law.

In one change for the $600 check, Congress decided to just use your 2019 AGI to determine if you qualify for a stimulus check, assuming you meet all the other requirements — not your AGI from 2018. (More below for people who don’t normally file taxes.) 

Here are the income limits for the second stimulus check. The first figure below represents the lower income limit to receive the full amount. Above that figure, your check amount would decrease on a sliding scale the higher your AGI, until it hits the second figure, which is the most you can make before you’re disqualified. Check out our stimulus check calculator to get an estimate for your specific situation. These income limits do not count qualified children.

$600 second stimulus check income limits

AGI to receive full amount AGI to phase out of payment Down from
Single tax filer Under $75,000 $87,000 $99,000
Head of a household Under $112,500 $124,500 $146,000
Married, filing jointly Under $150,00 $174,000 $198,000

Adults and their kids can receive $600 apiece with the second stimulus payment

With the second stimulus check, each eligible adult will get up to $600, decreasing as income raises (more on this above) and each child dependent — age 16 and younger — can also qualify for a $600 payment. There is no cap on how many children you can claim for a payment.


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Second stimulus checks: Everything you need to know

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As with the first stimulus check, children age 17 and above and dependent adults will not be eligible for the $600 dependent payout. This excludes roughly 13.5 million adult dependents from contributing to the household total, according to the People’s Policy Project.

Read moreNobody can take your stimulus check away, right? Know your rights

Who could qualify for a second stimulus check

Qualifying group Covered in final law
Individuals An AGI of less than $87,000
Head of household An AGI of less than $124,500
Couple filing jointly An AGI less than $174,000
Children under 17 years old $600 apiece, no limit on number of children
Families with noncitizen spouse Provided they meet other qualifications
US citizens living abroad Yes, same as CARES
Citizens of US territories Yes, same as CARES, with payments handled by each territory
SSDI and other tax nonfilers Yes, but may require an extra step to claim (more below)
Incarcerated people Initially excluded under CARES Act but now included
People who owe child support Excluded under CARES, but included in bill
Disqualified groups Not covered in final law
Non-US citizens Qualifying “alien residents” are currently included under CARES
Noncitizens who pay taxes Not included if no US citizen spouse

One important change to qualify ‘mixed-status’ families

In the $900 billion stimulus package, a US citizen who has a noncitizen spouse are eligible for a payment as long as they have Social Security numbers. This has been referred to as a “mixed-status” household when it comes to citizenship.

In the CARES Act from March, households with a person who was not a US citizen were not eligible to receive a stimulus check, even if one spouse and a child were US citizens.

Excluded: Noncitizens who file taxes and are not married to US citizens

The CARES Act made a Social Security number a requirement for a payment. While earlier 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 of people is again excluded in the final bill text.

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If the definition of a dependent changes, your family could benefit.


Angela Lang/CNET

Could my stimulus check be garnished if I owe child support?

If you owed child support, your first stimulus money could be garnished for arrears (the amount you owe). In the new bill, those who owe child support will not have their payment docked to cover past-due payments.

Incarcerated citizens can receive a second stimulus payment as the law stands

After months of back and forth, the IRS was ordered by a federal judge to send the first stimulus checks to people who are incarcerated. They are not excluded from the new law, which means eligibility for this group currently stands.

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How much stimulus money you could get depends on who you are.


Angela Lang/CNET

Will my taxes affect the amount of my payment? What if I don’t typically file? 

For most people, taxes and stimulus checks are tightly connected. For example, the most important factor in setting income limits is AGI, which determines how much of the total amount you could receive, be it $600 or $1,200 for individuals and $1,200 or $2,400 for married couples (excluding children for now).

Read below for your eligibility if you don’t typically file taxes.

If you’re an older or retired adult, here’s what you need to know right now

Many older adults, including retirees over age 65, received a first stimulus check under the CARES Act, and will be eligible for a second one. For older adults and retired people, factors like your tax filingsyour AGI, your pension and if you’re part of the SSDI program (more below) will affect if you receive a second payment. 

I haven’t submitted my 2019 federal tax return. Can I still get the second stimulus check?

With the second payment, the IRS will use your 2019 tax returns to determine eligibility. People who weren’t required to file a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019 may still be eligible to receive the first stimulus check under the CARES Act. And this group will qualify again. Here are reasons you might not have been required to file:

With the first stimulus check, nonfilers needed to provide the IRS with some information before they could receive their payment. (If you still haven’t received a first check even though you were eligible, the IRS said you can claim it on your taxes in 2021.) This fall, the IRS attempted to contact 9 million Americans who may have fallen into this category but who haven’t requested their payment. Those in this group can claim their payment on next year’s taxes.

Under the new law, those who used the IRS the Nonfiler portal to file for the first check will also receive a second payment. We’ve reached out to the IRS and US Treasury to clarify what action, if any, these “nonfilers” will need to take.

Will I qualify for a stimulus payment if I receive SSI or SSDI?

Those who are part of the SSI or SSDI program qualified for a check under the CARES Act. Recipients wouldn’t receive their payments via their Direct Express card, which the government typically uses to distribute federal benefits, but through a non-Direct Express bank account or as a paper check. SSDI recipients can file next year to request a payment for themselves and dependents.

Under the new law, these recipients will again qualify to receive payments, along with Railroad Retirement Board and Veterans Administration beneficiaries.

For more, here’s what we know about the contents of the new stimulus package. We also have information on the chances of a third stimulus check in 2021. Here are the top things you should know about the second stimulus check.