Your $1,400 Stimulus Check Could Arrive This Weekend

Pictured is a cell phone that frames a $1400 stimulus check
Getty Images and Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

This post refers to stimulus checks issued in March 2021. For the most up-to-date info, check out our recent tax articles.

Need a reason to celebrate this weekend? How about 1,400 of them?

The White House announced moments after President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Relief Plan into law on Thursday that the first round of $1,400 stimulus payments will hit bank accounts this weekend.

The first payments will go to taxpayers whose direct deposit information is on file with the IRS. If the IRS doesn’t have up-to-date direct deposit information for you, expect to wait a few weeks for a paper check to arrive.

Who Qualifies for the Stimulus Check?

Single filers making less than $75,000 a year, heads of household earning less than $112,500, and married couples earning less than $150,000 qualify for payments. If you have someone you list as a dependent on your tax return, you’ll get a $1,400 payment on their behalf too.

Those with incomes above these limits will have their payments gradually phased out. Those with incomes above $80,000 for single filers, $120,000 for heads of household and $160,000 for married couples won’t be eligible for payments. The $1,400 payments for dependents have the same phaseout rules.

The payments are based on your 2020 income if you’ve already filed your tax return. If you have yet to file or the IRS hasn’t accepted your return, they’ll use your 2019 income. But the payments are technically an advance on a 2021 tax credit, so even if you aren’t eligible from your 2019 or 2020 income, you could still get your $1,400 as a tax refund next year if your 2021 return shows that you’re eligible.

Didn’t file a 2019 or 2020 tax return? You’ll need to file ASAP to get your $1,400, even if you aren’t normally required to submit a return. You can use a free tool on the IRS website or free tax filing software.

However, this doesn’t apply to people who get Social Security, SSDI, SSI, Railroad Retirement System or VA benefits and aren’t required to file. The IRS can get the information it needs from the appropriate agency to get you your $1,400.

What if I Don’t Get My Check This Weekend?

Try not to worry if your check doesn’t arrive this weekend — though we get it. It’s hard not to worry if you need that money for bills.

Payments will be made over the next several weeks. Within the next few days, you’ll likely be able to track it using the Get My Payment feature on the IRS website, though the tool was offline as of Friday.

If the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information, they’ll mail you either a check or a prepaid debit card. If you’ve closed the bank account that’s on file, the bank will reject the deposit and the IRS will mail your payment as well. There’s no way to change your direct deposit information online unless you provide it when you’re submitting your 2020 return.

Right now, there’s not much you can do to get your stimulus money any faster. Fortunately, the wait will be a short one for most people.

Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advice column. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].