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What You Need to Know about the CARES Act

On March 27, 2020 President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This Act is an economic relief package totaling over $2 trillion dollars for the American people. The CARES Act will provide fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses.

You may ask, how will the CARES Act impact me? For most people, the direct impact will be an economic stimulus check. Individuals who earn $75,000 or less will receive a check for $1,200, couples making $150,000 or less (for joint filers) will receive a check for $2,400, and an additional $500 per child under the age of 17. A typical family of four is eligible for $3,400. In order to receive a check, a person must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident

  • Have a work-eligible Social Security number

  • May not be a dependent, or eligible to be a dependent, on any other taxpayer

Your next question may be, “Do I need to take any action to receive this check?”

And the answer is no additional action is needed by taxpayers who:

  • Have already filed their tax returns this year for 2019. The IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount.

  • Haven’t filed yet for 2019 but filed a 2018 federal tax return. For these taxpayers the IRS will use their information from 2018 tax filings to make the Economic Impact Payment calculations.

You may be concerned about receiving your stimulus check, because you don’t typically file a tax return. This bill will provide the IRS with the necessary tools to locate and provide rebates to low income seniors who normally do not file a tax return. For this the IRS states, “Social Security and Railroad Retirement recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action. The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate Economic Impact Payments of $1,200 to these individuals even if they did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients are also part of this group who don't need to take action.” However, seniors are still encouraged to file their 2019 tax return to ensure they receive their recovery rebate as quickly as possible. It is important to note that it is the Treasury Department, not the Social Security Administration, is responsible for making these payments.

The IRS goes on to warn seniors to avoid potential scams related to the economic payments. For example, the IRS will never call, text, or email you asking for personal information like bank account information. If you receive a call, text, or email from someone claiming to be the IRS do not engage with the person or offer any personal information.

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