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You may not be getting a stimulus check

According to Kiplinger; Rocky Mengle, Tax Editor- Millions of Americans have already received stimulus payments by direct deposit. Paper checks will start going out soon, too. But if nothing shows up in your bank account or mailbox, it might be because you’re not eligible for a stimulus check. When the news first broke about stimulus checks, some people may have gotten the impression that everyone was going to get a payment. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.

There are a few reasons why you could be left without a stimulus check. It could be because of your age, income, immigration status, or some other disqualifying factor. Here’s a list of people who won’t be getting a stimulus check from Uncle Sam. (If you are getting a payment, there’s an easy way to check the status of your payment.


Stimulus checks start at $1,200 per eligible person ($2,400 for married couples who file a joint tax return). If you have children who qualify for the child tax credit (basically, kids 16 years old or younger), there’ll be an extra $500 tacked on for each child. So, for example, a married couple with two children can get up to $3,400. (Use our Stimulus Check Calculator to figure out how much you can get.)

However, stimulus payments are gradually phased-out for people at certain income levels (based on your 2018 or 2019 tax return, whichever one you filed most recently). If your income is high enough, your check will be completely phased out and you’ll get nothing! For single people, that happens if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is above $99,000. If you’re married and file a joint tax return, you’ll get nothing if your AGI exceeds $198,000. If you claim the head-of-household filing status on your tax return, your payment will be reduced to zero if your AGI tops $136,500.


If you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return (whether or not you’re actually claimed as a dependent), you won’t receive a stimulus check. That means no payments to children living at home who are 17 or 18 years old, or to college students who are 23 or younger at the end of the year who don’t pay at least half of their own expenses.

Other dependents won’t receive stimulus payments, either. For example, an elderly parent living with an adult child is out of luck and won’t get a check.

Nonresident Aliens

Nonresident aliens won’t be getting a stimulus check in the mail. Generally, a “nonresident alien” is not a U.S. citizen, doesn’t have a green card, and is not physically present in the U.S. for the required amount of time.

People Without a Social Security Number

Generally, you must have a Social Security number to get a stimulus check. There are, however, two exceptions to this rule. First, an adopted child can have an adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN) instead of a Social Security number. Second, for married members of the U.S. armed forces, only one spouse needs to have a Social Security number.

To get the extra $500 for a qualifying child, your son or daughter must also have a Social Security number. If they don’t, then you won’t get the addition amount.

People Who the IRS Doesn’t Know About

The IRS is automatically sending payments to people who filed a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return. Social Security recipients, including people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), will receive stimulus checks automatically, too. However, if the IRS can’t get the information it needs from your tax records or the Social Security Administration, then it can’t send you a check. Fortunately, there’s a way around this if you want a check now. But it requires some action on your part.

For people who don’t file a tax return or receive Social Security benefits, go to the IRS’s web-based portal and provide the IRS with the information it needs to cut you a stimulus check. It’s a pretty easy process, and you can even provide your bank account information if you want to have your payment deposited directly into your account.

However, even if you don’t get a check now, you won’t lose out on the money if you’re eligible for a payment—you’ll just have to wait until next year to get it. You can claim the proper amount as a tax credit next year if you file a 2020 tax return by April 15, 2021.

Child support payments. Documents in a court.

People Who Owe Child Support

Stimulus money is generally not subject to reduction or offset to pay back taxes or other debts owed to the federal government. However, if you owe child support, the IRS can use stimulus check money to pay arrears. If your child support debt is greater than your stimulus check amount, you could end up missing out on a stimulus payment entirely.

Article courtesy of Rocky Mengle, Tax Editor for Kiplinger.

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