How the Stimulus Works (and Why You Haven’t Received Yours)

The COVID-19 pandemic had drastic, far-reaching implications for the US economy. Over 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits, and states like Wisconsin are reporting unemployment rates as high as 27%—a rate of unemployment not seen since the Great Depression.

To combat the economic impact of the coronavirus, the US Government passed the CARES act, awarding many US citizens with a stimulus check of $1,200. Notably, custodial parents also received an additional $500 per child. As the pandemic drags on, the Trump administration has suggested that another stimulus check might be on the way for Americans.

Today, we're covering everything you need to know about the stimulus check (including why you haven't received yours yet).

Can My Stimulus Check be Seized to Repay Outstanding Debts?

Generally, no. Creditors can't demand that you repay debts using your stimulus check, and your stimulus check won't be seized to repay any outstanding liabilities.

However, the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) can seize your stimulus check to repay any delinquent child support payments you owe.

Can My Stimulus Check Be Taxed?

No, the stimulus check is not taxable income. You don't have to report it on your 2020 tax forms. Additionally, the IRS cannot seize your stimulus check to repay owed taxes, and the stimulus check won't impact your 2019 tax returns.

Why Don't I Have My Stimulus Check Yet?

Unfortunately, the roll-out of the stimulus has been anything but smooth. Some Americans won't receive their stimulus checks until September.

Additionally, the IRS recently announced that custodial parents might have to wait until 2021 to receive their $500 per child stimulus.

It's important to note that, if you filed taxes jointly in 2018 or 2019, a cumulative $2,400 stimulus check might be sent to the bank account on those tax forms (resulting in one person receiving the $2,400 stimulus). Recent divorcees must work together to split the stimulus between them.

At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff, I have experience helping clients navigate various financial legal disputes, including Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, as well as assisting clients in preparing estate plans to preserve their legacy.

To receive a consultation from my firm, contact me online or via phone at (805) 633-4999.

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