Sorry, not everyone will qualify for a third stimulus check, even if they got the first two

February 25, 2021 0 By boss



The stimulus check rules could change in your favor, or it may leave you out this time around.

Sarah Tew/CNET

A third stimulus check could arrive as soon as the end of March, with near certainty that the House of Representatives will approve the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, moving it along to the Senate before a final signature from President Joe Biden. And with new rules surfacing this time around for a new stimulus payment, you’re likely wondering if you’ll qualify for a $1,400 check.

While the new check is much larger than the first two, and will include more people in the eligibility rules such as dependents, there are also requirements that would bring a smaller check (or none at all) to others. Which brings us to the question: who could be disqualified from receiving the third payment? Even filing your taxes earlyor later — could determine your stimulus check fate.

The third check will be much more “targeted” and focused on vulnerable Americans, which will undoubtedly change the entire stimulus check equation. Here’s what we know so far about who may be left out from receiving a check this time around. This story was recently updated.

Whether you’re qualified could depend on when you file taxes

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 it’s highly likely a third stimulus check would arrive in the middle of tax season. The IRS is expected to base your next stimulus check off your 2019 or 2020 taxes, whichever is on file when it processes.

If you file your taxes early or request an extension, either action could influence which yearly income figures the IRS will use. If you made more in 2020 than in 2019, you might want to file later. If you would be disqualified in 2019, but made significantly less in 2020, filing sooner might be to your advantage. Read more details in our story about which taxes the IRS would use for stimulus calculations.

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Individual taxpayers with an AGI of $100,000 or more in 2019 or 2020 are disqualified

The new stimulus check could begin to phase out after $75,000, per the “targeted” stimulus plan (see below). If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $100,000 or over, you won’t be eligible for a third payment of any amount. However, if you make between $75,000 and $100,000, you could get a portion of the check. You’d receive the full amount if your yearly income is under $75,000 for the year. Here’s how to calculate the amount you could receive.

Heads of households with an AGI of $150,000 or higher won’t qualify

Similar to the single-taxpayer cutoff, heads of households (people who do not file jointly and claim a dependent) with an AGI of $150,000 or more are excluded under the new proposal. In order to get a partial stimulus payment, you would need to make between $112,500 and $150,000. But to get the full amount, you must make below $112,500 if you’re the head of household.


A “targeted” bill could mean less money for you.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Married couples filing jointly with an AGI of $200,000 or higher aren’t eligible

If you’re a married couple filing jointly and have an AGI of $200,000 or higher, you won’t be eligible for the third stimulus check under the new proposal. In order 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.

Non-US citizens or ‘nonresident aliens’ will be ineligible 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 eligible?

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


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

Sarah Tew/CNET

What if you reside in a US territory like the Virgin Islands?

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 likely to be 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 if I’m a nonfiler and don’t usually file taxes?

If you’re a nonfiler and typically aren’t required to file income taxes, you’re probably 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 tax season 202 a year from now. We’ll know more once a third payment is approved.

What if a relative has died since filing my 2020 taxes?

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.

We’ll know more as soon as a third stimulus check is passed by Congress.

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 may qualify for a third stimulus check.


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