COVID Pandemic Stimulus Payments


Congress has not passed any additional stimulus payment since the CARES Act was passed last spring.

The original stimulus payment was for $1,200 for individuals for $500 for minor dependents.

The IRS has a comprehensive information page about these payments

How much is the stimulus payment be?

The stimulus payment will be, at maximum:

  • $1,200 for a person filing by themselves
  • $2,400 for a person filing jointly
  • $500 for each "qualifying child" (see below for the definition of qualifying child)

People who make under $75,000 in gross annual income filing alone (or under $150,000 for joint filers) will receive the maximum amount.

Those who receive between $75,000 and $99,000 in gross annual income filing alone ($150,000 to $198,000) will receive an amount less than the maximum, and less depending on how much annual income exceeds $75,000 single / $150,000 joint.

What if I have not yet received the $1,200 payment?

You can check the status of your payment on the IRS Get My Payment app, found here: The app will tell you if the payment has been mailed or is scheduled to be mailed or deposited. You can also call 1-800-919-9835.

The payments may be made by direct deposit, check or prepaid debit card. If the app tells you that the payment was mailed but you never received it, you may need to request a trace payment. Instructions on how to do this are on the IRS FAQ page linked above, or you can contact Iowa Legal Aid’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic for assistance.

If you mailed a tax return in order to claim the stimulus payment, the IRS may still be processing your paper return. The IRS is very behind on processing mail, so you may have to wait until your return is processed before you receive the payment.

What if I received my $1,200 payment with my Social Security benefits, but I did not receive a $500 payment for my dependent?

If you receive Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) or Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits, you did not need to provide any additional information to receive your payment. However, you may not have received the $500 because the IRS did not have information about your dependent.

You have until September 30th to enter information about your dependent info into the Non-Filer portal at This is for taxpayers who do not file a tax return. If you filed a tax return, or need to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, you should not use this portal.
If you do not enter your dependent info into the portal by September 30th, you will have to wait to claim the $500 payment during the 2020 tax season, in spring of 2021.

What if I don’t receive federal benefits or have to file a tax return? How can I claim the payment?

You can claim the $1,200 payment by using the non-filer portal here: You have until October 15th to enter your information. If you do not enter this by October 15th, you can still claim the payment by filing a 2020 tax return, in the spring of 2021.

If I owe taxes, child support, or other debt owed to the government, won't they just take the payment to pay what I owe?

Often, tax refunds and other payments from federal and state governments can be offset (taken) to pay a debt you owe to or that is collected by the government. The stimulus payment, however, can't be offset to pay for anything except for past due child support.

My spouse owes child support from a prior relationship, but I do not. Both of our payments were taken for the child support debt. What can I do?

The IRS is developing a system to return payments to the “injured spouse” in this situation. If you e-filed a Form 8379 with your tax return, the IRS is anticipating that your payment will be returned in early to mid-September. These payments will be mailed as checks.
If you did not file a Form 8379, or you mailed a paper form to the IRS, you do not need to take further action. The IRS does not yet have a timeframe but has stated that it will automatically issue the portion of the stimulus payment that was applied to the other spouse’s debt at a later date.

Will the stimulus payment effect my public benefits or debts?

Because the stimulus payments are structed as tax refunds, they do not count as income for the purposes of Medicaid, Hawk-I, healthcare Marketplace, or other public benefit program.  For Medicaid eligibility groups that have asset limits, the stimulus payment is only counted as resource 12 months after you received it.  

Often, tax refunds and other payments from federal and state governments can be offset (taken) to pay a debt you owe to or that is collected by the government. The stimulus payment, however, can't be offset to pay for anything except for past due child support.

In addition, for the purposes of SSI, the stimulus payments will not be counted as resources for 12 months after they are received.


Iowa Legal Aid Provides Legal Help to Low-Income Iowans

To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:call 800-532-1275.

  • Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161 or apply online at
  • If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.
  • As of March 18, 2020, our offices are closed for walk-ins until further notice, due to the coronavirus outbreak.


*As you read this information, remember this article is not a substitute for legal advice.

Last Review and Update: Apr 16, 2021