Why Haven’t I Received a Coronavirus Stimulus Payment Yet?

Does everyone you talk to seem to have received their stimulus money already, but you’re still waiting for your payment to arrive?

More than half of eligible Americans have already received their Economic Impact Payment, but tens of millions more are still waiting. Here’s when you can expect yours, how to help it arrive quicker, or why you may not be receiving a stimulus payment.

The Schedule for Issuing Payments

The IRS is trying to get stimulus payments out to Americans as quickly as possible, but with approximately 150 million checks that need to be issued – it will take some time.

First, the IRS is working on getting the funds to Americans via direct deposit. Most of the payments being issued to people whose account details are known by the IRS have already been distributed, and the rest are scheduled to be deposited as the information is obtained.

Next, the IRS will send payments for individuals currently receiving federal benefits, such as Social Security checks, retirement or disability benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. The stimulus payments will be issued the same way these individuals receive their regular federal benefits – whether by direct deposit, Direct Express, or paper check. The Treasury has promised that all Social Security and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries will receive their benefits earlier in May. SSI and VA beneficiaries should get their payments by mid-May.

On April 24, the IRS began issuing paper checks to Americans who had not provided their banking details. Lower-income Americans were prioritized, and individuals earning an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $10,000 or less should have already received their checks. The IRS will then begin sending out approximately 5 million paper checks each week, scheduling the mailings according to incomes in increasing $10,000 increments. For example, checks for individuals with an AGI that falls between $20,000 and $30,000 were mailed out on May 1. On May 8, the checks for those with incomes between $30,000 and $40,000 will be mailed out. This schedule will continue through September 4th.

How Can My Stimulus Money Get Here Quicker?

The IRS will use your most recently filed taxes to determine where to send your stimulus money and the amount you are eligible to receive. If your most recently filed returns have not yet been processed, or you’ve received your refund by paper check, the government does not have your checking account information and your payment may be delayed.

You can update this information on the track my payment portal on the IRS website. You will need your Social Security Number, the gross income of your most recent tax returns, your bank routing number and your checking account information. Once you’ve shared your account information, your stimulus payment should be scheduled for deposit within the week.

If the IRS already has your account information and you still have not received your stimulus money, or you would prefer to receive your payment by paper check, you can track your payment on the same link. The site is updated once a day.

What if my Information has Changed Since I Filed my Last Tax Return? 

If the checking account used for your most recently filed taxes has since been closed, the payment will bounce back to the IRS, and they will send a paper check to the home address on file from your tax returns.

To update a checking account, use the IRS payment portal to enter your current information.

If you’ve moved since filing taxes, you can choose to update your address information with the IRS, or use another method which may include informing the U.S. Postal Service of a change of address.

What if I Don’t File Taxes?

If you are not required to file taxes and you are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment, you can still receive your check. Just enter your information here.

Why You May Not Qualify for a Check 

The CARES Act does not promise payments for every American. Dependents older than 16, individuals who do not have a Social Security Number and those with an AGI above $99,000, will not be getting a stimulus payment. The threshold is higher for individuals filing as a head of household at $136,500, and up to $198,000 for joint filers.

Watch Out for Stimulus Scams

While the IRS urges people to update their information on the payment portal, it’s important to note that they are not reaching out to individuals. If you receive a phone call, social media post, email or text message asking for your personal financial information, it is a scam. There is also no application fee or processing fee for Economic Impact Payments. If you’re asked to pay one, it’s also a scam. Be diligent and stay financially safe and healthy!

Article Source: CUcontent.com

More Ways to Make the Most of Your Coronavirus Stimulus Check

If you already received your stimulus payment directly deposited into your bank account, or even if you are still awaiting a paper check in the mail – it’s a good idea to have a plan on how you will use this payment. Everyone’s financial situation is different, but here are four additional ways to consider spending your coronavirus relief check.

First and Foremost: Cover Your Needs

If there were ever a time to prioritize needs over wants, it’s right now. This is especially important if you’ve lost income due to unemployment, reduced hours or slow business. If this is the case for you, your stimulus money should go toward making sure you have a roof over your head and food on the table.

Create a budget and add up the cost of your essential expenses. Then look at how much money you have in your bank accounts as well as your stimulus check, to get a good picture of how long your money will stretch. Feeling overwhelmed? Create a budget that works for you with our budgeting guidebook.

If you are having trouble paying your bills, reach out to your financial institution or lender as soon as possible. Many are offering payment deferments and other relief options during this time.

Increase Your Savings

If you’re still working and bringing in enough money to cover your essential needs, look to using your stimulus check to boost your emergency fund.

No one can predict how long this pandemic will last and shelter-at-home advisories have forced many industries to change how they do business or temporarily shut down.

While the typical advice is to have at least three months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund, you might want to increase that if you can. Your emergency fund should help you feel financially secure. You will also want to separate your emergency savings from your spending money. A higher yield or money market account will earn interest while your money is sitting in the bank.*

Think About Your Future

If your finances are in good shape and you have an emergency fund, consider spending the money you’ll get from your stimulus check to set yourself up for a better financial future (i.e. going toward that side or start up business you’ve always wanted to get off the ground).

Making a dent in your debt up front could also help you save money in the long run. You also might want to think about using your stimulus money to cover initial expenses that’ll help you save money over time (i.e. buying gardening supplies so you can grow your own produce and cut costs on groceries while also staying out of the store right now).

Help Others

If you’re in a financially stable situation with a healthy emergency fund, another good use of your stimulus money could be to help others who need it.

Use the extra cash to help a family member or friend in need, or donate to a reputable charity. You could also spend your money to support local businesses and restaurants — whether that’s through online orders or purchasing gift cards for future in-person visits.

*A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. Click here to view full Rewards First program details. A First Financial membership is required to open an account or loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean counties.

Article Source: Nicole Dow of The Penny Hoarder

6 Ways to Spend Your Stimulus Payment Responsibly

Did you receive your COVID-19 stimulus payment on April 15th? Have you started thinking about how you should spend it?

It’s tempting to think about all of the ways you could spend an extra $1,200 or $2,400 – depending your filing status and the number of dependents you claim. Before you get that list finalized, we want to give you some tips to help your money stretch as far as possible.

Prioritize. Look at your bills. Which ones are essential (rent or mortgage, car payment, utilities), and what bills are non-essential (entertainment, streaming services, unusable memberships)? Make a list of what you need and what you can live without. Focus on paying the essential bills first.

Save. Save. Save. Don’t miss an opportunity to pad your savings account with some of your stimulus money. It’s a one-time payment, so think of your stimulus as a mini emergency fund. You may want to set aside some of the payment as “just in case” money.

Divide and Conquer. You only get one stimulus payment, but your bills will still come monthly. If you’re currently unemployed, it’s especially important to be strategic in how you spend your stimulus payment. Take this opportunity to divide it up into smaller chunks to help cover some of the essential bills you pay each month. Also, talk to your landlord or mortgage lender, your utility company and internet service provider, if you’re having trouble meeting your monthly obligations. Many companies are finding ways to help their customers defer payments during this unprecedented situation.

Don’t Hoard Cash. Hoarding cash is a bad idea in general. Your money is much safer at your financial institution than it is in your home. So, bring it to us and let us safeguard it for when you need it!*

Pay Down Debt. Paying off debt is almost never a bad financial move, but think about it and prioritize carefully. Even in these uncertain times, paying off any highest interest debt isn’t a bad idea. However, don’t feel like you need to be in a hurry to spend all your stimulus money to pay off debt. Look at your options for forbearance, payment deferrals, or even the option to skip a monthly payment. If you can get some relief on your debt in the coming months, let your stimulus payment sit in your savings account.

Splurge Smartly. We’re all feeling the weight of stress and uncertainty as we wonder when this pandemic will end, and life will return to normal. No matter how you decide to spend your stimulus check, see if you can set aside a little bit to spend on something fun for yourself. Maybe even shop at some of your favorite local businesses to offer support. Remember: the government is hoping these stimulus payments will put some cash flow back into the economy to stimulate it.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve faced a situation no one could’ve possibly prepared for. We know that our members have been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the stimulus payments will certainly help and offer some relief to most, please know that First Financial is here for you. We want to help you stretch your stimulus payment as far as can go. Give us a call and let us figure out a way to help you!

*A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. Click here to view full Rewards First program details. First Financial membership is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties in NJ.