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Susan Ellis-Schumacher of Sycamore had a great surprise Wednesday morning when she checked her bank account: her Economic Stimulus Payment had been directly deposited into her account.

Ellis-Schumacher already has plans on how she will spend the money: put some into savings, support local restaurants by eating out and maybe do a cabin getaway.

“I’m not sure if it’s truly enough for the ones out of work, but I’m happy nonetheless,” she said. “I guess it depends on how long we will truly ‘stay at home’ for.”

Ellis-Schumacher said she thinks that due to difficult times and unemployment, most people will use the money for bills and food and not have the option to save it.

Linnea Watts of Cortland describes the one-time payment as “nothing but a bonus.”

“I’m still reporting to work full-time, so I haven’t lost any income,” Watts said. “I’m using it to pay off credit card debt.”

Michael Walsh, a wealth advisor with Walsh & Associates, with offices in DeKalb and Sarasota, Florida, describes the payment as “an emergency fund to help us get through this tough time.”

“It’s important to think about how the money will help you and your family in the long run,” he said. “We don’t know how long this economic crisis and pandemic will last. We have to make sure we have a roof over our head and food on the table.”

Walsh recommends using the money for essential bills and needs, such as rent, mortgage and food or to supplement or replenish a rainy day fund.

“It’s important to spend the money wisely or save it,” he said. “We have less opportunities now to spend the money, restaurants are closed, stores are closed and we can’t travel. The uncertainty of the situation is weighing on everyone right now. We hope the economic stimulus payment will help get things a little bit back to normal, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

What is the economic

stimulus payment?

The Internal Revenue Service has already started sending payments of the Recovery Rebate Credit, also known as the Economic Impact Payment and the Economic Stimulus Payment, to taxpayers.

On March 27 in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The act, passed by both Congress and the House of Representatives and signed by President Donald Trump, was created to help keep workers paid and employed, allow businesses to remain operational, make necessary health care system enhancements and help stabilize the economy.

In addition to the Recovery Rebate Credit, the CARES Act helps with unemployment benefits and provides forbearance for federal student loans until Sept. 30.

The Recovery Rebate Credit is a special one-time benefit in the form of an Economic Stimulus Payment. The last Economic Stimulus Payment was in 2008 when single filers received $600 and joint filers received $1,200.

The rebate is an advance on a tax credit that can be claimed on 2020 tax returns. The rebate is treated like other refundable tax credits, such as the child tax credit and earned income tax credit, and not considered income. The rebate will not have to be paid back.

Who gets stimulus money?

All U.S. residents or citizens with adjusted gross income under $75,000 or $112,500 for head of household and $150,000 married, are eligible for the $1,200 rebate, or $2,400 for married couples. Eligible residents and citizens must not be the dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible Social Security Number.

Those eligible will also receive an additional $500 per child. A child is considered any dependent of a taxpayer under the age of 17. College students are eligible for a recovery rebate only if they are not considered a dependent of their parents.

The rebate amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold. The amount is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, $146,500 for head of household filers with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.

Taxpayers with little or no income tax liability, but at least $2,500 of qualifying income, are eligible for a minimum rebate check of $600. Qualifying income includes earned income, Social Security retirement benefits and certain veteran compensation and pension benefits.

How are we getting

the stimulus money?

To receive the Recovery Rebate Credit, the IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed or their 2018 return if their 2019 return has not yet been filed. The money will either be sent via check through the mail or directly deposited into the bank account the IRS has on file.

Bank account and mailing information can be updated and the payment tracked online at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.

For information about the Economic Impact Payment, visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus.  

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