9 reasons you may not eligible for a $1,400 stimulus check

March 16, 2021 0 By boss

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Fewer people qualify for the $1,400 stimulus payment. Are you one of them?


Sarah Tew/CNET

Tens of millions of people can expect to get much more money this time with the third stimulus check (use our stimulus calculator to see how much you could get). On the flip side, roughly 16 million people who got the second check could be disqualified this time due to changes in the new law — for example, lowering the income limit for individuals and families. Are you of the millions who are ineligible?

Whether you are in or out could depend on something as simple as whether the IRS uses your 2019 or 2020 taxes to determine whether you’re eligible for the third payment.

Here’s everything we know about who will and won’t qualify for a $1,400 per person stimulus check, and here’s how you can use the IRS check tracking tool to determine if you can expect a payment. This story was recently updated.

When you file your taxes could determine your stimulus check eligibility

If you’re right on the cusp of the income limits described below, when you file your taxes could make the difference between qualifying for a partial check or not. That’s because a third stimulus check is now arriving during tax season.

The language in the stimulus bill (PDF) makes it clear that the IRS will base your next stimulus check off your 2019 or 2020 taxes, whichever is on file when it processes your payment. However, the IRS is reportedly delayed on processing new tax returns. If you made more in 2020 than in 2019, you might want to file later or even request an extension

If you would be disqualified in 2019 and made significantly less in 2020, filing sooner might be to your advantage, but only if the IRS processes your payment before issuing you a stimulus check — something outside your control.


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Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get



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Individual taxpayers: You won’t get a check if your AGI is $80,000 or more 

The new stimulus check will begin to phase out after $75,000, per the new “targeted” stimulus plan. If your adjusted gross income, or AGI, is $80,000 or more, you won’t be eligible for a third payment of any amount. However, if you make between $75,000 and $80,000, you could get a portion of the check. You’d receive the full amount if your yearly income is less than $75,000. Here’s how to estimate the stimulus check total you could receive.

Stimulus check plan for income limits

Full $1,400 per person maximum (based on AGI) Not eligible (based on AGI)
Individual taxpayer Less than $75,000 $80,000 or more
Head of household Less than $112,500 $120,000 or more
Married couple filing jointly Less than $150,000 $160,000 or more

Heads of household: No payment if you have an AGI of $120,000 or more

Similar to the single-taxpayer cutoff, heads of household (people who don’t file jointly and claim a dependent) with an AGI of $120,000 or more are excluded under the new bill. To get a partial stimulus payment, you’d need to make between $112,500 and $120,000. But to get the full amount, you’d need to make less than $112,500 if you’re the head of household.

Married couples filing jointly: You won’t get a check if you have an AGI of $160,000 or higher

If you and your partner are a married couple filing jointly and have an AGI of $160,000 or higher, you won’t be eligible for the third stimulus check. To qualify for the full $1,400 payment, your combined household income would need to be less than $150,000. The amount you could receive would phase out after that amount until you reach the cutoff.

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With the new bill, individuals and families could qualify for a payment.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Non-US citizens or ‘nonresident aliens’ aren’t eligible for a payment, again

If you’re considered a nonresident alien by the IRS, you won’t be included in the third stimulus check. The government defines a nonresident alien as someone who “has not passed the green card test or the substantial presence test.” For example, if you’re studying abroad in the US.

With the first stimulus check, noncitizens needed to have a Social Security number and live and work in the US to qualify for a payment. However, the second check amended the rules to allow families with a noncitizen spouse to qualify for a second stimulus check, even if they are issued a taxpayer identification number (ITIN) by the IRS and not a Social Security number. See more below.

Are noncitizens who are married to a US citizen qualified?

If you’re considered a noncitizen, you may or may not get a stimulus check, depending on a couple of factors. Under the new bill, mixed-status households with at least one family member who has a Social Security number could be eligible for the third stimulus check, assuming they meet the other requirements, including the income limits. 

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Nonfilers will need to take an extra step to get their stimulus money.


Sarah Tew/CNET

What if you’re living in a US territory like Puerto Rico? 

With the first two stimulus checks, people who live in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands may have been eligible to receive payments. Whether these groups qualified for a check has in the past been determined by the tax authorities in each territory. These agencies were also directed to make the payments. It’s the same situation for the third stimulus checks.

If you never received a payment for one or both of the previous stimulus checks, you’ll need to contact your local tax authority to inquire.

What it means if you’re a nonfiler and don’t usually file taxes

If you’re a nonfiler and typically aren’t required to file income taxes, you’re eligible to receive the third stimulus check. However, if you’re missing money from a previous check you may need to take an extra step to get your money by filing your taxes this year. If there’s an issue receiving some or all of a third check, it’s likely you would need to file a claim during next year’s tax season.

What if a family member has died since you filed your 2020 tax return? 

It depends on which tax return the IRS uses (see above). For example, if the IRS goes by your 2019 tax return, it’s likely you’d get to keep the amount you received for the deceased person. With the first stimulus check, the IRS asked people to return the money for someone who had died since the previous tax filing. With the second check, if your spouse died in 2020 and your AGI was less than $112,500 a year, you would be eligible for the full $600 amount.

For more information, here’s why you should set up direct deposit with the IRS now, four reasons to file your taxes as soon as possible and who qualifies for a third stimulus check.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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