How to get your CARES Act stimulus check

Get your stimulus check: File with the IRS

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Americans will be receiving economic impact payments (stimulus checks) to provide some financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The IRS has begun to distribute these payments. However, in order to receive these payments individuals and couples must have filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Who will receive the stimulus check automatically without taking additional steps?

Most eligible U.S. taxpayers will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments including:

  • Individuals who filed a federal income tax for 2018 or 2019
  • Individuals who receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits
  • Individuals who receive Railroad Retirement benefits

Who needs to take an additional step to receive their stimulus check?

Eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents who:

  • Had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019
  • Were not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, and didn’t plan to

You can provide the necessary information directly to the IRS easily and quickly for no fee here

File taxes for free

While you may not be required to file a return, we encourage you to consider filing anyway as there could be state and federal credits for which you may qualify. Filing for these credits may increase your tax refund by thousands of extra dollars. 

According to the IRS, 70% of Americans can file their taxes for free. A list of free filing programs is available from the IRS Free File Alliance

Filing your tax return while experiencing homelessness

If you are currently experiencing homelessness and you need to file your tax return, please check out these resources

Federal tax credits

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working people with low- to moderate-incomes. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund. This may be worth up to $6,660.

Child Tax Credit (CTC) – Beginning with tax year 2018, you may be able to claim the Child Tax Credit if you have a qualifying child under the age of 17 and meet other qualifications. The maximum amount per qualifying child is $2,000. Up to $1,400 of the credit can be refundable for each qualifying child as the Additional Child Tax Credit. A refundable tax credit may give you a refund even if you don’t owe any tax.

American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) – The American opportunity tax credit (AOTC) is a credit for qualified education expenses paid for an eligible student for the first four years of higher education. You can get a maximum annual credit of $2,500 per eligible student. If the credit brings the amount of tax you owe to zero, you can have 40 percent of any remaining amount of the credit (up to $1,000) refunded to you.

State Tax Credits

Homestead Property Tax Credit – Michigan’s Homestead Property Tax Credit is how the State of Michigan can help you pay some of your property taxes if you are a qualified Michigan homeowner or renter and meet the requirements. The credit may be worth up to $1,800.

Home Heating Credit – The Home Heating Credit is a way the State of Michigan helps you pay some of your heating expenses if you are a qualified Michigan homeowner or renter.