Stimulus Check FAQ

Why is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) paying rebates to individuals?

The public health and economic consequences of COVID-19 are significant. These rebates will help Americans afford what they need during this public health crisis, as many are experiencing a significant cash crunch.

The IRS is working to deliver rebates quickly. The IRS distributed rebates beginning the week of April 13th. The IRS plans to make additional rounds of payments by direct deposit and paper check weekly until all eligible individuals receive their rebates.The IRS will notify an individual by mail after the payment has been made to them.

For most Americans, rebates will be delivered automatically by the IRS. When available, electronic direct deposit will be used in place of mailing a physical check. For people who filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019, or who receive Social Security benefits, rebate processing will be based on payment or address information already on file with the IRS or Social Security Administration. Electronic distributions will be automatic to an account the payee authorized on or after January 1, 2018. As discussed in more detail below, the IRS will have two online portals for individuals who have not already provided direct deposit information to the IRS to do so.

The IRS is not accepting individual inquiries about stimulus checks at this time.

The amount of the rebate depends on adjusted gross income and family size. The payment is $1,200 for each adult individual ($2,400 for joint filers), and $500 per qualifying child under age 17. Rebates are not available to dependents age 17 or older, including adult dependents. The advance payment of rebates is reduced by $5 for every $100 of income to the extent a taxpayer’s income exceeds $150,000 for a joint filer, $112,500 for a head of household filer, and $75,000 for anyone else (including single filers).

The phaseout ($5 for every $100 of income in excess of the relevant threshold) applies to the entire rebate amount, which includes rebate amounts related to qualifying children.

No. There is no statutory limit on the number of qualifying children taken into account for purposes of the rebates.

No, rebates do not need to be repaid. They also will not be deducted from a future tax refund.

If an individual experienced an income loss in 2020 or if they have an increase in family size, they may be able to claim an additional credit for the difference when the individual files their 2020 tax federal income tax return in 2021. If an individual experienced an income gain in 2020 or if they have fewer dependents under 17, they will not need to repay any portion of the rebate that they received.

If you did not receive the full amount to which you believe you are entitled, you will be able to claim the additional amount when you file your 2020 tax return. This is particularly important for individuals who may be entitled to the additional $500 per qualifying child dependent payments.

No. The rebates are federal income tax refunds and are not subject to federal income tax. Many individuals don’t need to file a tax return.

Yes. There is no earned income requirement to be eligible for a rebate. Non-filers who are Social Security beneficiaries will be paid automatically by the IRS. Other non-filers may need to register for their rebate through an online portal the IRS launched on April 10th. This portal can be found at:

If the person provided direct deposit information on their 2019 or 2018 tax return, the IRS will use that information to make the payment rather than mailing a paper check. If the person did not provide direct deposit information on their 2019 or 2018 return but wishes to receive electronic payment, the IRS has launched a portal called Get My Payment where they can provide their banking information. Taxpayers will not be able to update their address through the Get My Payment portal. Taxpayers can notify the IRS of a change in address by following the steps described here:

No, the rebate is considered a tax refund and is not counted towards eligibility for federal programs.

Taxpayers must have Social Security Numbers for themselves and their qualifying children in order to receive rebates.

In the case of mixed-status families where the filer has an SSN and the child does not, the filer should be able to claim the credit for the $1,200 ($2,400 if married) for themselves, but not the $500 per child without an SSN. In the case of mixed-status families where the filer does not have an SSN and the child does, the rebate is not available except for military families where one spouse has an SSN.




The Internal Revenue Service has recently released guidance for payments sent to deceased individuals. Please see the below guidance from the IRS.

Payment made to someone who died before receipt of the payment should be returned to the IRS. Payment must be returned in its entirety unless the payment was made to joint filers and one spouse had not died before receipt of the payment. In this case, only the portion of the payment made on account of the decedent needs to be returned. This amount will be $1,200, unless adjusted gross income exceeded $150,000. Please find below the process to returning the payment.

If the payment was a paper check:

  • Write “Void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  • Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
  • Don’t staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
  • Include a note stating the reason for returning the check.

If the payment was a paper check and you have cashed it, or if the payment was a direct deposit:

  • Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
  • Write on the check/money order made payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write 2020EIP, and the taxpayer identification number (social security number, or individual taxpayer identification number) of the recipient of the check.
  • Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.

IRS mailing addresses for Pennsylvania:

Philadelphia Refund Inquiry Unit

2970 Market St

DP 3-L08–151

Philadelphia, PA 19104

The IRS will post additional updates on on these and other issues.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mary Gay Scanlon

Mary Gay Scanlon currently serves a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District.