In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the federal government is providing stimulus checks to American citizens as part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security CARES Act

Under the CARES Act, most eligible U.S. taxpayers are entitled to receive a one-time payment of $1,200 for each adult earning up to $75,000 annually, or $2,400 for couples earning up to $150,000 annually. An additional $500 is provided for each dependent child under the age of 17.

While the majority of Americans are expected to receive their CARES Act stimulus payments automatically, there are a few instances in which individuals may have to manually apply for their checks. Individuals who do not normally file taxes, such as retired seniors, are advised to submit a simple tax return in order to be eligible for the stimulus money. Other individuals who may need to apply include those with an adjusted gross income (AGI) more than $75,000, recent immigrants, and foster parents, among others.

The IRS has set up a portal for individuals to check their eligibility and payment status. The website offers a tool that allows users to enter personal information, such as Social Security Number and date of birth, in order to receive an update on their payment status. Additionally, the site provides information on how to track the status of the payment, as well as tips on how to protect personal information in order to prevent fraud.

The CARES Act also extends unemployment benefits to workers affected by the economic downturn associated with the pandemic. These benefits cover up to 39 weeks of unemployment and may be extended to self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and gig workers, who are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits. Furthermore, the benefits are designed to provide an additional $600 per week in addition to state benefits.

Overall, the CARES Act provides much-needed financial aid to American citizens affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most individuals are expected to automatically receive their stimulus payments, but those who do not may have to manually apply for them. The IRS has launched a website to allow individuals to check their stimulus payment status, as well as providing information on how to protect personal information from fraud. The CARES Act also includes extended unemployment benefits for those affected by the economic downturn associated with the pandemic. This support will ensure that Americans can weather the financial hardships brought about by the pandemic and help to sustain the US economy.

This article was contributed on Nov 18, 2023