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Is your stimulus payment total correct? Why it’s important to check it again

Whether you already got a stimulus check or you’re waiting for it to arrive, knowing how much money to expect can help you spot problems.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Whether you’ve already received your third stimulus check, or you’ve tracked it and you’re waiting for it to arrive, comparing how much you get to the estimate of how much you’re owed is more important with this third stimulus payment than with the first two rounds. Why? Because of two things: The fact that the IRS is calculating stimulus checks during tax season, and because there’s now way to know for sure how much you’ll get until you actually receive it.

If there’s a problem with your payment that you need to address with your bank or the IRS, and you’re owed more than you actually receive, you may not know it unless you can compare your estimated figure with the amount the IRS calculated for you (this appears on a letter the IRS sends you). Otherwise, you could be missing out on hundreds, maybe thousands, of stimulus dollars you’re entitled to receive. That goes for every group, from Social Security recipients and US veterans to older adults and people who live outside the US.

Our calculator tool below will help. The IRS is currently making “plus-up” adjustments for some people who it owes more money, but if yours doesn’t come automatically, you may need to take action. For example, if you had a baby in 2020, supported another dependent or made less money, would you need to file a Recovery Rebate Credit in 2022, or request a payment trace? We explain the details below. And here’s the deal with a possible fourth stimulus check, and how to know if you qualify for the child tax credit for up to $3,600 per kid. This story was recently updated.

How much stimulus money should you really get this time? Calculate now

The Senate made a notable change to the third check before the bill was signed into law in March by reducing the upper income limit to receive any check. If your AGI is equal to or more than $80,000 (single taxpayers), $120,000 (head of household) or $160,000 (filing jointly), you won’t be eligible. See below for more details.

Note that this calculator should be used as an estimate only. If you think the check size you receive is in error and doesn’t match your below estimate, it’s possible you may need to claim the rest of your payment at a later time.

Proposed $1,400 stimulus calculator

Use details from your 2019 or 2020 tax return

1. Choose your filing status below.

Below we show who will get the full stimulus amount and when you’ll completely phase out of receiving a payment, using the new guidelines that were officially signed into law. As an individual or couple’s income goes up, the size of the partial payment gets smaller. (Here’s our first stimulus check calculator and here’s the calculator for the $600 second check.)

Stimulus check 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

What if your stimulus payment doesn’t match the estimate above?

There are a number of reasons your stimulus check might be smaller than you were expectingor nonexistent. Maybe you receive SSDI or SSI benefits or other federal benefits, which have not been sent out yet? Or perhaps your payment was based on your 2019 taxes instead of 2020? Checks that are missing altogether can be tracked using a few tools and missing money can be claimed in a few different ways. Read our guide to stimulus check problems for solutions to these and other issues.

Important guidelines to remember about dependents

These new rules for the third stimulus check will affect you if you have dependents. 

  • Each dependent counts for $1,400.
  • Dependents are no longer restricted by age. College students, adult children with disabilities and older adult relatives will now count toward $1,400 each. 
  • Unlike the rules around the first two stimulus checks, you can’t receive any money if you exceed the upper income limit, even if you have dependents. 

An extreme example of the last one: a single parent of four who makes $120,000 won’t qualify, where a single parent with four dependents who makes $119,000 will still get some amount of money. The amended bill also includes families with mixed citizenship status; that is, where at least one family member is a US citizen.

Expanding qualifications to dependents of any age makes approximately 13.5 million more adult dependents count toward their household total, according to The People’s Policy Project

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Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get


Read more: Stimulus money, tax breaks for kids, older adults: Not just a $1,400 check

For more information on stimulus checks, here’s what to know about the IRS timeline for sending checks, what parents of 2020 babies should do to recoup missing money from the first two payments, and everything we know so far about a potential fourth stimulus check

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Your tax questions answered in 3 minutes


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