Coronavirus and Your Money

Social Security Recipients Are Finally Getting Their Third Stimulus Check

The IRS is finally sending third stimulus check payments for Social Security and other federal beneficiaries who didn't file a 2019 or 2020 tax return.

Millions of seniors who didn't file a 2019 or 2020 tax return have already started receiving their third stimulus checks. After receiving data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in late March, the IRS was able to start processing third stimulus payments for approximately 30 million seniors. These people will generally get their stimulus payment in the same way they get their regular Social Security benefits. Since most of these payments will be paid electronically through direct deposits or to existing Direct Express debit cards, the funds have already been delivered to many of these seniors. For those still waiting, more payments will arrive this week and in the following weeks.

Third stimulus payments are generally based on information found on your 2019 or 2020 tax return. That's why many people who receive Social Security benefits and filed a 2019 or 2020 return, or who used the IRS's Non-Filers tool last year, received a third stimulus check in March. However, since some Social Security recipients don't file tax returns, the IRS didn't have the necessary information in its computer systems to process third-round stimulus payments for them. That's why the tax agency needed data from the SSA to send out checks to seniors who haven't file a recent tax return.

In addition to seniors receiving Social Security retirement benefits, payments are also being sent to people receiving Social Security disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits who didn't file a 2019 or 2020 tax return or didn't use the Non-Filers tool. Veterans who receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs but didn't file a recent tax return should start getting third-round stimulus payments soon, too.

Most Social Security, SSDI, SSI, and RRB beneficiaries who are eligible for a third stimulus check don't need to take any action to receive a payment (not everyone is eligible). However, as with previous stimulus payments, some beneficiaries may need to file a 2020 tax return – even if they don't usually file – to provide the IRS the information it needs to send an additional $1,400 for a spouse or any dependents. The deadline for filing a 2020 tax return has been pushed back from April 15 to May 17, 2021.

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Amount of Your Third Stimulus Check

Every eligible American will receive a $1,400 third stimulus check "base amount." The base amount jumps to $2,800 for married couples filing a joint tax return. You also get an extra $1,400 for each dependent in your family (regardless of the dependent's age).

Not everyone will receive the full amount, though. As with the first two stimulus payments, third-round stimulus checks will be reduced – potentially to zero – for people reporting an adjusted gross income (AGI) above a certain amount on their latest tax return. If you filed your most recent tax return as a single filer, your third stimulus check will be phased-out if your AGI is $75,000 or more. That threshold jumps to $112,500 for head-of-household filers, and to $150,000 for married couples filing a joint return. Third-round stimulus checks will be completely phased out for single filers with an AGI above $80,000, head-of-household filers with an AGI over $120,000, and joint filers with an AGI exceeding $160,000.

You can use our handy Third Stimulus Check Calculator to get a customized estimated payment amount. All you have to do is answer three easy questions.

How to Track the Status of Your Third Stimulus Check

The IRS's "Get My Payment" tool lets you track your third stimulus check payment. The online portal lets you:

  • Check the status of your stimulus payment;
  • Confirm your payment type (paper check or direct deposit); and
  • Get a projected direct deposit or paper check delivery date (or find out if a payment hasn't been scheduled).

Payments for Social Security recipients and other federal beneficiaries may have already been reported in the portal as "pending" or "provisional" payments. However, the official payment date (i.e., when funds are actually available) is today.

For more information about the tool, see Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Tool to Get an Answer.

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