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Trump and Biden froze federal student loans. Should borrowers pay or pause before they thaw?

Since March, the federal government hasn’t required borrowers to make payments on federal student loans. Should they?



For the better part of a year, the nation’s 45 million borrowers with federal student loan debt have found themselves in a comfortable limbo.

This relaxed stagnancy began last March when then-President Donald Trump directed the Education Department to allow borrowers to stop making payments on their federal student loans while freezing interest as part of the coronavirus relief effort. The Biden administration extended that pause through September with a day one executive order.

The move was meant to help borrowers use their money on more pressing costs like groceries or rent. The more ambitious may have started saving, but a pause is not a stop. While Congress tussles over President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package or to convict Trump, borrowers still don’t have answers to their ever accumulating questions.

Among them, how long will the pause last? And does it make sense to pay debts now when the possibility of loan forgiveness is on the table?

While the federal government made it easy for borrowers to skip their payments, it hasn’t made it clear to borrowers what comes next. Forgiveness might seem the natural next step, but Republicans and Democrats disagree about the fairness of such a plan. That has left borrowers to chart their own path, and most have taken the path of least resistance.

Should you pay student loan debts now – or wait?

“In order to make a payment on your loans, you had to actually proactively do something,” said Mark Kantrowitz, author of five books on scholarships and financial aid. “Whereas if you didn’t do anything, you were automatically in the payment pause and interest waiver.”

Travis Smith seems like one of those proactive people. He has opted to use the pause period to try and aggressively pay down his remaining debt of $30,000. That has translated to payments of about $2,000 to $3,500-a-month.

Smith, a doctoral student at Indiana University in Bloomington who also works in the athletic department, said he and his wife had been in the middle of paying off all their debts when the pause started. So they live off her salary, and direct his earnings toward the debt.

“I just got basically sick of the principal never changing on loans,” he said. “We knew how big of a deal that was to be able to knock the principal down, so I hope others recognize that too.”

The principal is generally the original amount of money a borrower agreed to pay back.

Kaitlyn and Travis Smith have used the government's pause on federal student loan payments to aggressively pay down what they owe. Most borrowers have not been making payments for the past 10 months.

Kaitlyn and Travis Smith have used the government’s pause on federal student loan payments to aggressively pay down what they owe. Most borrowers have not been making payments for the past 10 months.

Kantrowitz said the zero percent rate does mean borrowers who make payments can chip away their loans more quickly. But that doesn’t mean all borrowers would benefit most from that route.

In a loan forgiveness program? Rethink your payments.

Specifically, those who are enrolled in loan forgiveness programs may want to rethink their payments. These programs require borrowers to make a set number of payments before their debt is forgiven. Under the current moratorium, these borrowers haven’t had to make those payments, but they still receive credit for them every cycle.

“That is giving them partial loan forgiveness,” Kantrowitz said.

Peter Orlowicz, an attorney with the federal government, took that approach. He said he has about $310,000 in student debt. He is also within two years of his debt being forgiven through the government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

That program that allows people to work in eligible jobs for say the government or a not-for-profit. After 120 qualifying payments, the federal government is supposed to forgive the debt. Other government repayment plans require borrowers to make payments based on their income for 20 to 25 years after which time their debt is supposed to be forgiven.

Orlowicz’s payments were about $950-a-month, and he said it was easy to decide to redirect that money to other costs associated with staying home during the pandemic including food delivery.

“My payments basically don’t cover much more than interest normally,” he said. “And the the amount I’d pay during the pause won’t have a significant impact on the total outstanding amount, I didn’t see any benefit to voluntarily making payments.”

For other borrowers, repaying can feel like a moral issue. Nicholas Grayson said the choice was simple to make. The government wasn’t asking for the money back, so he is not paying.

Grayson, who works at the video game and culture website Fanbyte, said he has instead used the money he would have paid to his loans to improve his and his partner’s life during the pandemic. That has included making home improvements.

Nicholas Grayson, 25, said he hasn't been making payments on his loans, and has instead used that money to make life easier for he and his partner during the pandemic. He said he is support of the government erasing student debt for all borrowers.

Nicholas Grayson, 25, said he hasn’t been making payments on his loans, and has instead used that money to make life easier for he and his partner during the pandemic. He said he is support of the government erasing student debt for all borrowers.

Grayson, who went to the University of San Francisco, said he owes about $175,000 in student debt. About $25,000 of that amount is in his name, and the rest is in the form of federal loans his mother took out for him.

He said he is on an income-driven repayment program. But he and other young, minority borrowers he knows approach their debt with the mindset of, “we will either die before the loans get paid back, or they will fall off of when we’re in our 40s.”

Previously reported: Biden to continue freeze of payments, ask Congress to erase debt

Is student loan forgiveness next?

President Biden has steered clear of promising to cancel student debt via executive action, and instead has said he supports Congress forgiving $10,000 worth of student loan debt.

Student borrower advocates have been pushing Biden to cancel debt through executive action, including new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts. They have pushed a plan that would cancel $50,000 in student loan debt.

And a recent poll by Morning Consult found that a little more than half of adults said they would strongly or somewhat support $10,000 in loan forgiveness.

That support was more popular among Democrats, nearly 75 percent of whom strongly or somewhat support the measure, compared to Republicans, 54% of whom oppose the plan.

Betsy DeVos, the former education secretary, was also opposed to widespread loan forgiveness. In December 2020, she said it was unfair to ask Americans who hadn’t gone to college to subsidize the costs of those who had. That echoes bipartisan criticism of loan forgiveness more broadly, namely that forgiving loans would unfairly benefit those with a college education and who typically earn more as a result. And forgiving debt once would not prevent it from accumulating in the future.

Reports show the average graduate of a four-year program holds roughly $30,000 in student loan debt, but the majority of borrowers who default on their loans hold less than $10,000.

There is about $1.56 trillion in the nation’s federal student loan debt portfolio.

Forgiveness of $10,000 would not necessarily translate to lower monthly payments, Kantrowitz said. (Though borrowers looking for lower monthly payment options do have a suite of income-based repayments programs they can enroll in.)

For Grayson, $10,000 in forgiveness feels like a drop in the bucket. His income-driven plan would make him eligible for forgiveness in 20 years, but payments for that long, he said, will affect the quality of his life.

He said the government is likely to write off a majority of what he owes, so why not forgive it now? And that’s a question more borrowers will likely be asking themselves when, and if, their payments resume.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden paused student loans, interest: Will debt go away? Should I pay?



Stimulus check update: When will ‘plus-up’ payments arrive? Answers to your COVID relief questions

Americans have tons of questions about their stimulus checks and 2020 taxes. Here’s what you need to know about 2021 COVID-relief payments and more.



For those last-minute tax filers who were rushing to get their returns done, there’s good news: you’ve been given a one-month reprieve.

Tax Day 2021 has been pushed back to May 17 from April 15 without penalties and interest, giving Americans more time to file their federal returns as the IRS implements sweeping tax code changes from the latest COVID-19 relief package.

But there are caveats. The IRS isn’t extending the deadline for first quarter estimated tax payments. And not all states have pushed back their deadlines.

It’s a busy time. Many Americans have tons of questions about their stimulus checks, taxes and unemployment aid after the American Rescue Plan became law. So far, more than 156 million payments have been sent to Americans in the third round.

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Unemployment tax break: IRS tax refunds to start in May for $10,200 tax break

The IRS is sending stimulus checks on a weekly basis now. Some Americans are eligible for “plus-up” payments from the agency, which will correct any changes to money that they are owed based on their 2020 tax returns.

Many people are rushing to get their returns done so they can qualify for the latest stimulus aid, and they have questions like: Is it best to file now? Can I still file my return to qualify for a third stimulus check? When will I get a “plus-up” payment?

Taxpayers are also grappling with questions on everything from unemployment waivers to child tax credits. And others want to know when they need to pay their state taxes, or if they face refund delays.

Here’s what you need to know:

The IRS says more stimulus checks are expected to be sent out this week and in coming weeks.

The IRS says more stimulus checks are expected to be sent out this week and in coming weeks.

When will ‘plus-up’ payments arrive?

The fourth batch of payments made under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan included more than 1 million “plus-up” payments worth more than $2 billion for people who were eligible for additional money now that their 2020 tax returns have been processed, the IRS said Wednesday.

In some cases, a person could be eligible for a new or bigger payment based on their recently processed tax returns. These ongoing supplemental payments would apply to those who had already received stimulus money earlier in March, but the initial payment was based on a 2019 tax return, not the 2020 return that had been recently filed.

If your income fell last year and you made significantly less money than what was reported on your 2019 income tax return, you may be eligible for another check. Those who had a child or added a dependent could also qualify for more money if this wasn’t listed on their 2019 return, but is now listed on their 2020 return.

The “plus-up” payments will continue on a weekly basis going forward, the IRS said, as the agency continues processing tax returns from 2020 and 2019. These are taxpayers or households who either did not qualify for a third stimulus check based on their 2019 income or got less than they were due.

How will the IRS send ‘plus-up’ payments?

If you received your stimulus payment via direct deposit, that’s likely how you will get the “plus-up” money. If the IRS doesn’t have your information, you may receive a paper check instead, tax experts say.

“If you haven’t filed your 2020 return yet, just get it in,” recommends Dina Pyron, global leader of EY TaxChat, a tax-prep service from Ernst & Young. “Once you file your 2020 return and you qualify for the $1,400 for you, your family and dependents, those payments will either be deposited directly in your bank account, or you will get an additional check.”

Who qualifies for a third stimulus check?

The payments amount to $1,400 for a single person or $2,800 for a married couple filing jointly, plus an additional $1,400 for each dependent child. Individuals earning up to $75,000 get the full payments, as will married couples with incomes up to $150,000. Payments decline for incomes above those thresholds, phasing out above $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples.

If you are a head of household and not married, how does your stimulus payment change?

A Head of Household taxpayer isn’t eligible if their income is $120,000 or greater, although there is a phase-out between $112,500 and $120,000. Otherwise, a Head of Household will receive a $1,400 stimulus payment for themselves and each qualifying dependent with a Social Security Number, regardless of age, according to Mark Steber, chief tax information officer at Jackson Hewitt.

Do I still have a shot at qualifying for a third check if I file now?

If you didn’t qualify for the third round of stimulus checks based on 2019, but you do qualify based on 2020, the next best step is to file your 2020 taxes as soon as possible, tax experts say.

“If the IRS processes it in time, they’ll use the most recent year to qualify taxpayers for the third round of economic stimulus payments,” says Meredith Tucker, tax principal at Kaufman Rossin, one of the largest CPA and advisory firms in the U.S.

Steber agrees.

“Filing a tax return early is always a best practice and proven this year with the stimulus checks to those who have already filed,” says Steber. “As to filing now and still getting a check, the IRS has not detailed timing and impact, but it is certainly possible, especially if your tax situation changed from 2019 to 2020.”

If I don’t qualify for the third stimulus check based on my 2019 income but I do based on 2020, can I appeal to the IRS if they’ve already sent my check?

The IRS has until the end of the year to issue the stimulus payments for 2021 and will be reviewing returns for 2020. As the agency continues processing tax returns, additional payments will be made, tax experts say.

If you haven’t filed your 2020 taxes, but believe you qualify based on your income levels you should file your 2020 taxes to ensure the IRS has the latest information.

The IRS will continue to process stimulus payments weekly, including any new returns recently filed. If you still don’t receive a stimulus, the IRS said they will reconcile this sometime this year, according to Curtis Campbell, President of TaxAct, a tax preparation software.

“If the 2020 return hasn’t processed for some reason, the IRS will go off 2019 return information. Then, after tax season, if someone files their 2020 tax return and it is processed, the IRS will do a ‘true-up’ of the check between 2019 data and 2020 data,” says Campbell.

For those who didn’t get a check based on their 2019 income, file a 2020 return and the IRS will recover their payment based on their updated return, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said last month during testimony on Capitol Hill.

Can I claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on my 2021 taxes if I never receive a third check?

Yes, if you are eligible for a third payment but never receive one you can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2021 returns next year, according to Tucker.

“If you are passed over for round three because your 2020 tax return hasn’t been submitted or processed in time, then you should be able to claim a credit on your 2021 taxes,” says Tucker.

Stimulus checks: Stimulus checks coming for some Social Security recipients and other federal beneficiaries, IRS says

Do federal beneficiaries qualify for a check?

Yes. Following delays, the largest chunk of payments in the fourth batch made under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan went to Social Security beneficiaries who didn’t file a 2020 or 2019 tax return and didn’t use the Non-Filers tool last year, the IRS said.

More than 19 million payments, totaling more than $26 billion, went to these beneficiaries, including Social Security retirement, survivor or disability beneficiaries, according to the agency.

More than 3 million payments, worth nearly $5 billion, went to Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries. And nearly 85,000 payments, worth more than $119 million, went to Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries.

What about VA beneficiaries?

Payments for VA beneficiaries who didn’t file a 2020 or 2019 tax return and didn’t use the Non-Filers tool last year will be disbursed on April 14, the IRS said.

“If no additional issues arise, the IRS expects to begin processing these VA payment files at the end of this week,” the agency said. “Because the majority of these payments will be disbursed electronically, they would be received on the official payment date of April 14.”

Is there a maximum number of checks a household can receive (say, a family of 10)?

All dependents are now eligible for stimulus payments in the third round. The payment should include all eligible dependents and will be paid in one lump sum to whoever claims them, according to Tucker.

“There is no limit defined in the law, however normal IRS checks and balances probably will trigger a second look with a tax return with 10 family members but certainly is legal,” says Steber. “Remember, any individual who is a taxpayer’s dependent will not get their own check, instead they should be on the parent(s) return giving the parent(s) the additional money.”

Previously, if you had a child over the age of 16 or had an adult dependent, they didn’t receive a stimulus. The payments would amount to $1,400 for each dependent child. Eligible families will get a $1,400 payment per qualifying dependent claimed on their tax return, including college students, adults with disabilities, parents and grandparents.

Do I still need to file state taxes by April 15?

Yes. The extended deadline is only for federal income taxes. It doesn’t affect a state’s income tax deadline. But last year, states also eventually pushed back their deadlines after Tax Day 2020 was extended to July 15 due to the pandemic.

It’s important that taxpayers check their state to see if they are moving their deadline. At least 35 states have extended 2020 tax filing and payment deadlines to May 17, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Which states have their federal taxes delayed until June 15?

Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana residents were previously given a June 15 deadline to file taxes because of the winter storm that swept through those states in February.

Are estimated tax payments still due April 15?

Yes. The IRS isn’t extending the deadline for first quarter estimated tax payments for self-employed individuals. Those payments are still due April 15. Taxes must be paid as taxpayers earn or receive income during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments.

Estimated tax payments are made quarterly to the IRS by people whose income isn’t subject to income tax withholding, including self-employment income, interest, dividends, alimony or rental income. Most taxpayers automatically have their taxes withheld from their paychecks and submitted to the IRS by their employer.

Is the deadline for retirement and health contributions extended to May 17?

Yes. Taxpayers have until May 17 to contribute to their individual retirement accounts and health accounts, the IRS said.

This means that individuals have more time to make contributions to their individual retirement accounts for 2020, including IRAs and Roth IRAs, along with health savings accounts, Archer Medical Savings Accounts and Coverdell education savings accounts, the IRS said. Those deadlines would normally fall on April 15.

“That is a great tax break for people,” says Lisa Greene-Lewis, a CPA at TurboTax. “You can make a 2020 contribution and make an impact on your 2020 taxes.”

How do I check the status of my payment?

Get updates on the status of your next stimulus payment using the IRS “Get My Payment” tool. To use it, enter your full Social Security number or tax ID number, date of birth, street address and ZIP code.

But the Get My Payment tool won’t be updated until this weekend with information for VA beneficiaries expecting payments next week, the agency said.

For those who are eligible, the tool will show a “Payment Status” of when the payment has been issued and the payment date for direct deposit or mail, according to the IRS’s frequently asked questions.

How do I check the status of my tax refund?

You can use the IRS “Where’s My Refund” tool to check the status of your tax refund. Enter your Social Security number or ITIN, your filing status and your refund amount. There is also a mobile app, called IRS2Go, that you can use to check your refund status.

When will tax refunds start for the $10,200 unemployment tax break?

The IRS will begin refunding money to people in May who already filed their returns without claiming the new tax break on unemployment benefits, the agency said. The federal tax break went into effect following the recent changes made by the American Rescue Plan.

The legislation allows taxpayers who earned less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income to exclude unemployment compensation up to $20,400 if married filing jointly or $10,200 for all other eligible taxpayers. The legislation excludes only 2020 unemployment benefits from taxes.

What if I already filed my taxes?

For those taxpayers who already have filed and figured their tax based on the full amount of unemployment insurance, the IRS will determine the correct taxable amount of unemployment compensation and tax, according to the agency. Any resulting overpayment of tax will be either refunded or applied to other outstanding taxes owed, the IRS added.

For those who have already filed, the IRS will do these recalculations in two phases, starting with those taxpayers eligible for the up to $10,200 exclusion. The IRS will then adjust returns for those married filing jointly taxpayers who are eligible for the up to $20,400 exclusion and others with more complex returns.

What if I haven’t filed yet?

The IRS worked with the tax preparation software industry (including TurboTax and H&R Block) to reflect these updates so that those who file electronically need to respond to the related questions when preparing their returns, the agency said.

The IRS has stressed that taxpayers shouldn’t file an amended return unless the calculations make the taxpayer newly eligible for additional federal credits and deductions not already included on the original tax return.

“If you filed your return and you actually paid tax on the full amount, don’t amend your return,” says Pyron. “The IRS said they’re going to give that refund back to you.”

What about state taxes for jobless benefits?

More than half of states levy an income tax on jobless benefits. States will have to decide if they will also offer the tax break on state income taxes.

It’s possible that some may still opt to tax the jobless aid, experts say.

Some already exempt taxes on unemployment, including California, New Jersey, Virginia, Montana and Pennsylvania. And some don’t levy state income taxes at all, including Texas, Florida, Alaska, Nevada, Washington, Wyoming and South Dakota.

Is the child tax credit expanded?

Yes, the American Rescue Plan includes a temporary increase for the child tax credit for 2021.

The credit is worth $2,000 per child under 17 that can be claimed as a dependent.

It temporarily boosts the credit to $3,000 per child, or $3,600 per child under 6. It allows 17-year-old children to qualify for the first time.

The credit will begin to phase out for those earning more than $75,000 a year, or $150,000 for those married filing jointly. The IRS will look to prior-year tax returns to determine who qualifies for the higher credit. If a return for 2020 hasn’t been filed yet, the agency will look to 2019 returns.

Families who aren’t eligible for the higher child credit may still be able to claim $2,000 credit per child.

“This credit is for tax year 2021,” says Greene-Lewis. “The IRS hasn’t issued full guidance yet, but they’re expected to start issuing advanced payments sometime in July so that people don’t have to wait until they file their 2021 returns.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Stimulus check update: When will ‘plus up’ COVID payments arrive?

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Crypto News Recap: PayPal, Visa Compete to Provide Crypto Payments Services

March has been an interesting month for the crypto world as NFT markets re-emerged strongly, institutional and governmental adoption ruled the scene Paypal



Published April 5th, 2021 – 08:40 GMT


Here are the market highlights for the week.

March has been an interesting month for the crypto world as NFT markets re-emerged strongly, institutional and governmental adoption ruled the scene and mining revenues skyrocketed. Although traders usually don’t like March, this year Bitcoin closed its best at March and the coin’s candles have been radiating green for six whole months for the first time since 2013 🙆.

Finally, Paypal allows US-based customers to check out and pay with crypto just 24 hours after Visa said it mulls piloting a new payments system using stablecoins on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s lit huh 🔥

Summer is around the corner and you know what’s better than being eco-friendly is earning beer while you’re at it. This Aussie Brewery allows you to trade your excess solar energy for a pint of beer!

What’s more awesome is that all of this is made possible by blockchain. Environment-friendly and rewarding big cold beer, is it knock off time yet? where can I sign up?

Don’t Miss 👉 📖 14 Crypto Terms You Must Know Before Trading!

on the NFT front, Canadian singer dubbed as The Weeknd, announced the release of his first nonfungible token via Nifty Gateway on Saturday.

Excited to announce that my first NFT drop is taking place on Saturday at 2:00 pm EST on @niftygateway. The collection will feature new music and limited edition art. I developed the artwork with Strange Loop Studios

— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) March 31, 2021

Artists, painters, musicians, sports figures and even journalists are venturing into the NFT market. This really begs a bunch of questions as a lot of people wonder if this mania will be just a fizzy chapter of crypto hype or will it truly change the way we perceive digital art? I guess we’ll wait and see, maybe this article will be sold as an NFT someday 😂.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the major highlights of last week.

Crypto Charts: Bitcoin

According to Cointelegraph, the CEO of the Bitcoin exchange CoinCorner, Danny Scott, revealed that Bitcoin might rally to $83,000 if it emulates its average April return of 51% as it had over the past 10 years.

bitcoin crypto


Crypto Charts: Altcoins​



Big News: PayPal Allows US Customers to Pay in Bitcoin at Global Merchants

Paypal, the American online payments system, will begin accepting cryptocurrency payments at its millions of global merchants.

According to the announcement, users will be able to use this new feature called ‘check out with crypto’ to pay safely and easily, quickly converting Cryptocurrency holdings  to US dollars at checkout, with clear conversion rates and no additional fees.

With this new feature, cryptocurrency now is another countable way for US-based customers to pay and global businesses to get paid, adding enhanced utility for cryptocurrency holders, the announcement reads.

Visa’s Partners to Settle Fiat Transactions with Crypto

Shortly after the partnership with, the multinational credit card giant, Visa, announced plans to offer the USDC settlement capability to additional partners later this year.

USDC is a stablecoin backed by the US dollar, Visa plans to settle the transaction over Ethereum blockchain with the help of Anchorage, the first federally chartered digital asset bank and an exclusive Visa digital currency settlement partner, and

According to the announcement, Every $30 worth of credit can be exchanged for a slab of beer that will be delivered to your doorstep.

Christine Lagarde: Digital Euro could take four years

In an interview with Bloomberg, European Central Bank President, Christine Lagarde, revealed that the rollout of Digital Euro could take up to four years. By mid-2021, the ECB’s Governing Council will release a decision whether the institution will begin experimenting with a CBDC or not.

Earlier this year, Lagarde emphasized that the new digital currency will not replace cash, but will complement it: “The Euro belongs to Europeans and we are its guardian. We should be prepared to issue a digital euro, should the need arise.”

Australians people can use blockchain to swap solar energy credits for ice-cold beer

Victoria Bitter, a lager beer produced by Carlton & United Breweries, a subsidiary of Asahi, in Melbourne, Victoria, has announced a new program that allows Aussie beer lovers to trade and exchange their excess solar energy for slabs of Victoria Bitter.

This awesome project named ‘Solar Exchange’ was made possible with the partnership of 5-star rated1energy retailer Diamond Energy, and Power Ledger, a blockchain-powered software platform that enables energy trading.

Upcoming Activities

  • Binance: Register an account at Crypto exchange Binance via gift link to receive a share of $100,000 in TRX, BTT, WIN, JST and SUN.
  • Coinmarketcap: Take this quiz to earn $CKB Tokens.
  • Drive Fiat 500 and earn crypto while you drive

Upcoming ICOs

  • Deeper Network: This Silicon Valley project aims to build a more secure, private and fairer internet for everyone.

Events to Keep An Eye On:

European Blockchain Convention Virtual 2021 (Apr 13, 2021 – Apr 17, 2021)

Disclaimer: The Cryptocurrency market is considered highly speculative, risky, and largely unregulated. Anyone mulling investing in it, should be aware there’s a risk of losing their entire investment.

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SSI, SSDI stimulus check update: 30 million could get their $1,400 payments soon. What to know

The Social Security Administration sent missing payment files to the IRS. Those files had been preventing tens of millions of people from getting their $1,400 check. Here’s everything we know.




The stimulus check rules can be a little different for people who receive SSI and SSDI.

Angela Lang/CNET

Nearly 30 million Americans can expect their third stimulus checks now that the Social Security Administration has sent the IRS missing payment files that had been holding up stimulus payments. At the beginning of this week, the Treasury said it was sending out 37 million new stimulus checks for up to $1,400 per person — but the payments didn’t seem to include the eligible people (and their dependents) who receive Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance or other federal income benefits.

“We are gratified that the SSA leadership finally recognized the urgency of the moment and acted swiftly on our ultimatum,” the Ways and Means Committee statement said on Thursday, after the committee had given SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul 24 hours to send the files to free up the stimulus payments.

Though a date for when the checks will be sent is still uncertain, we do know they can now be processed by the IRS. However, you may receive your money by way of a different payment method this time than you did with the second check — more on that below. (Calculate how much of the $1,400 your household could get and track your payment here.) The checks are arriving during tax season, which could also complicate matters, especially if you gained a new dependent in 2020. If you stopped or started receiving SSI or SSDI in 2019 or 2020, or are missing money from the first two stimulus checks, you could also face another obstacle. We’ll explain. This story has been updated with new details.

Key things to know now

  • The government says it will conduct an outreach program letting taxpayers know if they’re eligible for any funds and offering help if needed.
  • Any missing payment from a third check may be paid out as part of tax season 2021 (in 2022), a year from now. You’ll likely have to file a tax return to claim it, if the IRS were to follow the same pattern for missing stimulus check money as now (more info on this below).
  • There’s no fourth stimulus check yet, but some are advocating for more payments.

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get


When will I know my third stimulus check arrival date?

The IRS said on March 22 that a payment date for those who receive Social Security and other federal benefits will be announced as soon as the information “becomes available.” It’s likely this could be soon now that the SSA has sent over the missing files. The Social Security Q&A webpage for the third stimulus payment still says it will expand its question and answer section soon.

The IRS and Treasury will use the information it has on file to automatically send you a check (even if you didn’t file a return). People who have already filed a 2020 tax return this year to claim missing stimulus money may find that the IRS will likely use this information instead of your 2019 details if it has processed your latest return (here’s how to see).

“For federal beneficiaries who did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return or did not use the Non-Filers tool, the IRS is working directly with the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Veterans Administration to obtain updated 2021 information to ensure that as many people as possible are sent fast, automatic payments,” the Treasury said in a statement Wednesday.

Some people may need to file a 2020 tax return, even if they don’t usually file, so the IRS has all the information needed to send payments for all eligible dependents.


The rules surrounding the third stimulus check can get confusing, fast.

Sarah Tew/CNET How will my third stimulus check arrive? Direct deposit or mail?

The IRS said it is adjusting how it will make payments to those who receive some federal benefits as it processes the third stimulus payments.

Most SSI and SSDI recipients didn’t receive their first payments via their Direct Express card, though this is usually what the government uses to distribute federal benefits. Instead, the payment arrived through a non-Direct Express bank account or as a paper check, if you didn’t have your bank account information on file with the IRS.

For the second round of payments approved in December, the IRS said that SSI and SSDI recipients should have gotten their stimulus check money the same way they received their first stimulus checks. People who received the first round of payments via Direct Express should have received the second payment the same way, according to the IRS.

However, with this third check, the IRS said Social Security and other federal beneficiaries will likely receive the new payment the same way as their usual benefits, noting it will announce a payment date for this group shortly.

Will I get the full $1,400 payment? Could I get a higher amount?

In President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, people who receive SSI and SSDI will once again automatically qualify to receive a third stimulus check, for up to $1,400, as they did for the first and second round of payments approved in 2020.

In the first two rounds, those individuals were eligible so long as they had a Social Security number and weren’t claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return — and so long as their household income didn’t exceed the threshold set ($75,000 single, $112,500 head of household, $150,000 married).

The March 11 bill that authorized the third check expands stimulus payment eligibility to dependents of all ages, including young adults age 17 to 24 and older adult dependents. It also increases the amount set aside for those dependents to $1,400 each. Another change: This time around, the checks will be more “targeted” than they were in the first two rounds, meaning that single taxpayers who earn $75,000 or less per year will be eligible for the full amount, while those who earn more than $80,000 per year won’t get any money. That means some families could get more money, while others will get less or none at all.

People receiving Railroad Retirement and Veterans Affairs benefits also automatically qualify for a payment, as they did in the first and second round of stimulus checks, the IRS said.


If you’re missing stimulus money for yourself or your dependents, you’ll need to claim it on your tax return.

Angela Lang/CNET How do I claim money for all my dependents?

The third stimulus check changes the rules and makes dependents of all ages eligible for up to $1,400 each toward the household’s total payment. That includes older adult relatives and college-age children. However, some beneficiaries with dependents will need to file a 2020 tax return to receive the $1,400 per dependent, so that the IRS knows how many dependents you claim.

“People in this group should file a 2020 tax return to be considered for an additional payment for their dependent as quickly as possible,” the IRS said in a March 22 press release.

Here are all the ways you could get more money in a third check and what to know if you had a baby in 2020. Here are tax breaks for anyone caring for children and older adults. And here’s who the IRS counts as an adult to receive their own stimulus check.

For the first stimulus check approved under the CARES Act in March 2020, qualified people with dependents age 16 or younger were eligible for up to $500 per child dependent, but not everyone actually received that extra money. For the second stimulus check, as long as your children were 16 years old or younger, they contributed $600 toward the final total of your household’s second stimulus check.

I don’t live in the US. Is there anything I need to know or do?

If you’re a Social Security beneficiary with a foreign address whose monthly benefit is deposited in a foreign bank account, you should receive your third stimulus payment as a check in the mail. (The IRS doesn’t usually deposit money into foreign banks.)

If you live abroad but receive your monthly benefits through a US bank, you should have received your first two payments by direct deposit to that account. If you still haven’t gotten your money, it will have to be claimed as part of a tax return. Find out everything you need to know about stimulus checks, citizenship and living abroad here.

I didn’t get my full stimulus payment from the first two checks, and I never file taxes. What can I do now?

According to the IRS, people who receive Social Security retirement, SSDI, SSI and Railroad Retirement benefits, as well as Veterans Affairs beneficiaries, were automatically eligible for the first two stimulus payments. If you receive these federal benefits as your only form of income, you weren’t required to file a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019. Under the CARES Act, you should have received a stimulus check automatically (no need to file a simple tax return, as the IRS had originally said.)

If that money didn’t arrive, it’s possible you might have had a payment garnished for child support or funds diverted to pay a specific kind of creditor, but the rules changed with a second check. However, an IRS error could also be one potential culprit or the IRS needed more information about your eligibility.


It isn’t too late to claim missing stimulus money, but you have to file a tax return to do so.

Sarah Tew/CNET

To receive your money now, you’ll need to claim the additional amount as part of tax season 2020, using the Recovery Rebate Credit. Even if you don’t usually file taxes, you’ll have to file to get those funds. The deadline for filing your 2020 taxes was extended to May 17, 2021.

In some cases — if you received a letter from the IRS confirming that your payment was sent, but you never actually got the money, for instance — you may need to contact the IRS to request a payment trace.

The IRS says you can create and then check an IRS account to see more information about your eligibility around the first two stimulus payments.

What if I’m still missing stimulus money for my dependents?

If you used the IRS’ Non-Filers tool from May 5 through Aug. 15, 2020, the IRS should have automatically issued a catch-up payment for your dependents in October 2020. If you received your original stimulus money by direct deposit, you should have gotten the catch-up payment the same way. Others would have received it in the mail.

If you filed for your missing dependent money by Nov. 21, 2020, the payment should have arrived by the end of 2020 in the same way you received your first payment (likely direct deposit or by mail.) If you missed the deadline, your check should be included on your 2020 tax return in 2021, if you file for a Recovery Rebate Credit.

To see the status of your or your dependent’s payment for the first or second payment, check your IRS account.

Here’s everything else we know about third stimulus checks, including what to do if there’s a problem with your payment.


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