CARES Act Stimulus Payments

Woman putting away groceries in refrigerator

What you need to know about the CARES Act.

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. As authorized by the CARES Act, the United States government is sending stimulus payments to individuals to help lessen the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Since many payments were delivered via direct deposit on April 15, 2020, you may already see your payment posted to your account. You can use online or mobile banking to check your account deposits. You may also find out if a payment has been posted by calling ART at (319) 393-2266 or contacting our member services team during regular business hours.

If you’re not sure if the stimulus payment is coming to your Linn Area account, please visit the IRS’ Get My Payment portal to check on the status of your economic impact payment.


Who receives the stimulus payments?

The CARES Act economic recovery package includes funding for individuals and small businesses.

The IRS indicates that individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for head of household filers and $150,000 for married filing jointly are eligible for the full $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married filing jointly. If your income is above these amounts, your payment will be reduced by $5 for each $100 above the thresholds.

You also might be eligible for the economic impact payment if you’re a:

  • Retiree
  • Recipient of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans’ benefits
  • Taxpayer who doesn’t normally have to file a tax return

If you’re a parent, you’ll receive an additional $500 for each qualifying child.


Who is not eligible for the payments?

According to the IRS, you likely won’t qualify for a payment if your adjusted gross income is greater than:

  • $99,000 for single or married filing separately
  • $136,500 for head of household
  • $198,000 for married filing jointly with no children

Or if you:

  • Can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return (you’re a child, student, or older dependent who’s claimed on a parent’s return)
  • Don’t have a valid Social Security number
  • Are a non-resident

See IRS’ full guidelines on eligibility.


When will the payment arrive?

Most payments will be distributed automatically over the course of three weeks beginning on April 13, 2020. The Treasury Department indicates that 81 million payments will be deposited into eligible recipients’ bank accounts effective on April 15, 2020.

Within 15 days of your payment posting, the IRS plans to mail a letter about your payment to your last known address. The letter tells how your payment was made and how to make a report if you don’t receive it.


How the IRS determines where to send your payment

If you’ve already electronically filed your 2019 tax return, the IRS will use that information to calculate your payment and deposit it directly into the same banking account you provided on your return. If you have not yet filed your 2019 tax return, the IRS will use information from your 2018 tax return.

The IRS states that if you’re a retiree who receives either Social Security retirement or Railroad Retirement benefits, you’ll also receive your payment automatically, even if you didn’t file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. You should receive your payment the same way you normally receive your benefits.


What to do if you don’t usually file a tax return

If you don’t usually file a tax return but think you’re eligible for the stimulus payment, you can use the IRS Non-Filers portal to provide your information. (This is the real deal! Beware of lookalike scam sites that might pop up in your email!)

You’ll need to provide basic identifying information such as:

  • Social Security number
  • Name
  • Address
  • Info on your dependents

To avoid having a check mailed to you (which can potentially take several weeks to arrive), you may opt to provide your Linn Area Credit Union account information so the IRS can deposit your payment directly into your account.


How to check the status of your payment

Access the IRS’ Get My Payment portal to check on the status of your economic impact payment. The tool allows you to:

  • Check your payment status
  • Confirm your payment type, i.e. direct deposit or check
  • Enter your financial institution and account information for direct deposit

If you have questions, the IRS has answers!


What happens if you’ve closed the Linn Area account you used for your tax refund deposit

If you’ve totally closed all your accounts with Linn Area Credit Union, then we must return the deposit to the U.S. Treasury Department. (Sorry, we don’t make the rules.)

If the account that the stimulus deposit is coming into has been closed, but you have other open accounts with us, we intend to post the deposit to the open account and NOT return it to the U.S. Treasury. (So, yes, in this case, you’ll get your stimulus money on the first go!)

Please understand that we don’t have the inside scoop on the IRS, so we don’t know your specific situation. If you think your payment may have been sent to us, please access the IRS’ Get My Payment portal to check on the status of your payment.


What’s a good way to use the money?

Great question! If you’re struggling and need the money for necessities, by all means use it to get what you need for your household. (That’s what it’s meant for!) If you’re in a better position financially, here are a few other good ideas:

  • Pay down any high-interest debt
  • Pop it into your Linn Area savings account to have it available for when you need it. (Plus, it’ll earn interest!)
  • Save for retirement using an IRA or other investment strategy
  • Use the 50-30-20 strategy
    • Use 50% for your needs, such as household utilities, food, car payment, etc.
    • Spend 30% on your wants, such as takeout dinners or fun gadgets
    • Apply the remaining 20% toward your financial future, such as paying down debt or putting it toward your savings or investments

Beware of COVID-19 scams

Whenever something new comes up, scammers will take advantage of the situation to try to trick you into giving them personal financial information. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Learn more about how to avoid Coronavirus scams.

And here’s a tip directly from the the U.S. Department of the Treasury specifically about the stimulus payments: If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19-related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond. These are scams.


Financial assistance for small business owners

The CARES Act includes funding for small businesses. If you’re a small business owner, Linn Area Credit Union is committed to helping you navigate the COVID-19 relief options. Learn more about the resources available to small business owners.


We are here for you!

We recognize that this is a crazy time for all of us! If you have questions that we didn’t cover, please contact our member services team during regular business hours, and we’ll do our best to help you.