This is a deeply uncertain time for countless American families. Officials at every level of government are working around the clock to minimize the spread and impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but both the virus itself and social distancing measures have taken a toll on many households. We’ve now passed three bills in the House aimed at helping Americans through this difficult period, and the most recent measure includes direct payments for most families. These payments are not the only thing we’re doing, but they will help people make ends meet amid reduced work, layoffs and other financial stresses. Here’s what you should know:
Direct Stimulus Payments FAQ
How will the payment impact my tax refund?
Receiving the stimulus payment does not take from your typical refund. For example, if you normally get a $3,000 refund when you file your taxes, this stimulus check doesn’t change that. Additionally, the stimulus payment is not subject to federal income tax.
When will the payments be distributed?
Payments have begun to be distributed. If you have not yet received your payment the IRS has set up a website to help you track it: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment
How large are the payments?
The amount of the rebate will depend on family size. The payment is $1,200 for each adult individual ($2,400 for joint filers), and $500 per qualifying child under age 17. These payments begin to be reduced for people who make more than $75,000 per year ($150,000 for joint filers), and stop altogether for those making more than $99,000 per year ($198,000 for joint filers).
If you make more than $75,000, your payment will be reduced by $5 for every $100 of income beyond the threshold.
Do payments need to be repaid?
No, payments do not need to be repaid.
How will payments be delivered?
It depends. Payments will be delivered automatically—by the IRS—to most Americans who file individual federal income tax returns. When available, electronic direct deposit will be used in place of mailing a physical check.
Many individuals don't need to file a tax return. Are non-filers eligible for payments?
Yes. There is no earned income requirement to be eligible for a rebate, but non-filers may need to take additional steps to receive their payments. The Social Security Administration will share information for Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) beneficiaries with the IRS to help ensure these beneficiaries receive an automatic advance payment. Instructions for non-filers can be found here.
How will a person who has recently moved access payments?
The IRS will determine payment delivery systems for everyone entitled to payments.
Will the payments affect my eligibility for federal income-targeted programs?
No, the rebate is considered a tax refund and is not counted towards eligibility for federal programs.
What identification requirements apply to receive payments?
Taxpayers must have Social Security Numbers for themselves and their qualifying children in order to receive payments.
In addition to these payments, Congress has extended and beefed up unemployment insurance programs, including expanding eligibility to contractors, the self-employed, and others who might not normally be able to use this resource.
Here’s what you should know about these changes:
Click here for a guide to each piece of the program
- In addition to regular unemployment insurance benefits, the federal government will provide an additional $600 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) through July 31, 2020. This supplement would not impact eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP.
- The federal government will also temporarily fund Short-Time compensation, or “work sharing,” programs for people who are experiencing reduced hours. Employers will make agreements with the state to prevent layoffs by reducing hours, and these workers will be eligible for partial unemployment benefits. Click here to learn more.
- Self-employed, contract, performing arts and gig-economy workers who don’t ordinarily qualify for unemployment insurance will be able to access benefits once New Jersey set an agreement with the Department of Labor for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The amount they receive will be based on recent earnings, and in addition they’ll receive a further $600 per week. A guide to applying with NJDOL if you are self-employed can be found by clicking here. For answers to frequently asked questions, click to read through an NJDOL FAQ.
- 13 weeks of emergency unemployment benefits will be available for workers who exhaust their regular benefits.
- The stimulus package also waives the normal waiting period for benefits.
The New Jersey Department of Labor will make all final decisions about eligibility and is the only agency capable of answering most questions about your application. My office continues to receive calls about the delays in reaching NJDOL staff, and I've been in direct communication with the Labor Commissioner to try to find ways to increase capacity. While I understand this is frustrating, I ask you to be as patient as possible and keep trying NJDOL phone lines. In addition, you should use the following process to send a message electronically if possible (please know that wait times remain long for a response):
To submit a message, residents must go to www.myunemployment.nj.gov and follow the instructions below:
scroll to the right for “Need Help” and click unveil the drop down menu (blue text, just above the blue bar, directly beneath the graphic text “myunemployment.nj.gov”
Choose Send an Email
Choose Email: Submit a message through our new online form.
Follow the prompts
If you have lost your job-based health insurance, you have two options:
1. Buy a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace
2. Sign up for COBRA coverage
You can find information on both of those options here
You can also call them at one of these numbers, based on where you live:
North Jersey: 201-601-4100
Central Jersey: 732-761-2020
South Jersey: 856-507-2340
- Those who owe taxes can defer their payments for 90 days, interest and penalty free, up to $1 million. The deadline to file your taxes has moved to July 15. Those who want to defer their tax payments will still need to file a return to qualify
- The New Jersey State legislature and Governor Phil Murphy have enacted a moratorium on removals of individuals due to evictions or foreclosures.
The Federal Trade Commission has created a webpage dedicated to addressing Coronavirus scams. The webpage will continue to be updated as new information arises.