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Verify: Who gets a stimulus check, when and how?

Most Americans will be eligible for the stimulus check. There are some stipulations for who gets a check and how much.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Since President Donald Trump signed the $2 trillion economic stimulus package, First Coast News has been getting a lot of questions from viewers about who is eligible. We're answering your questions and verifying not just who gets a check, but how and when you can get your stimulus check.

Federal law calls for sending checks to many in the U.S. because of the coronavirus. 

Most Americans will be eligible for the stimulus check. Single adults who reported an income of $75,000 or less on their 2019 tax return will received a one-time $1,200 check. If you haven't filed your 2019 taxes yet, the government will use your 2018 tax return to determine your eligibility.

Married couples who filed jointly will receive a $2,400 check. Families will also get an additional $500 per child. 

You can expect that check in the next three weeks. 

But two questions we’ve received from viewers are:

If I owe back taxes or child support, will I receive a stimulus check?

We can verify yes, as long as you meet those income requirements and have a social security number. But Justin Bateh, an economics professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville, says there are some stipulations for those who owe child support.

“Your check will be less, or may be eliminated altogether depending on what you owe.”

Another question we've received: is this stimulus check free money?

We can also verify yes. The check is basically an early tax credit, or gifted money from the government, for your 2020 tax return, so it’s not considered taxable income.

“You will need to claim it on your 2020 taxes, however, you will not need to pay anything back,” Bateh says.

This is as long as the income you are reporting it based on is accurate. 

Others are wondering if people receiving social security will have to contact the government to receive a stimulus check.

We can verify no. If receiving social security, you do not have to do anything or contact anyone to receive your check.

“The IRS and Social Security Administration already have your information and presumably have your mailing address to mail a check to or your bank deposit information to send your funds to,” Bateh says.

Those not receiving social security also don’t need to do anything to receive a stimulus check. As long as you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, the IRS will have your information. And there is still time to file your 2019 tax return.

People who earned more than $99,000 and couples who earned more than $198,000 jointly will not receive stimulus checks.

You can find more information about the stimulus checks here, and from the IRS, and US Government websites.

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