Who is eligible for covid payments under the new rules being implemented for the third stimulus check? | Tom Griffiths
Tom LR Griffiths is a tax advisor and consultant, specialising in US expatriate tax matters
Tom LR Griffiths
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Are you entitled to a third stimulus check and how much can you expect?

Tom Griffiths - third stimulus check

Are you entitled to a third stimulus check and how much can you expect?

On March 12th, the IRS confirmed they would be sending out direct deposits and mailing checks containing the third round of covid payments to Americans. These can be expected within the next several weeks.

As the third round of stimulus checks begin to get sent out, it is important that people understand who is eligible for them and how much they can expect to receive. The third round of checks come with new rules as to who qualifies for payments and how much those payments will come to.

The earnings of an individual or a household from 2019 and 2020 are still taken into account when deciding who is eligible; however, the income limits that were previously imposed on the first and second round of checks has changed.

If you are an individual, then your adjusted gross income must be less than $75,000 to qualify for the third stimulus check. For a head of a household this amount is $112,500 and for a couple filing jointly the amount is less than $150,000.

Adjusted Gross Income has been calculated using tax returns from 2019 and 2020; however, if you have not filed these tax returns, for example if you’re over 24 and don’t have an income over $12,200, if you’re married and jointly you don’t have an income over $24,400, you don’t have an income at all or you don’t receive federal benefits, you could still be entitled to a stimulus payment under the CARES Act.

As well as the income limits, there have also been changes introduced to those who are eligible to receive a third stimulus check, including people in mixed status households, inmates and dependents.

The scope for who can claim from a Mixed Status Home has been widened under the new Pandemic Bill. Previously, both a US Citizen and a noncitizen spouse were eligible for stimulus payments; however, they both needed to have Social Security Numbers. Under the new rules a US Citizen and a noncitizen spouse are eligible for stimulus payments and only one of them is required to have a Social Security Number.

The rules for who can claim as a dependent have also changed. Firstly, the amount has increased from $600 to $1400. This payment will include babies who were born in 2021. If a baby was born in 2020 and the parent has not received any of the previous two payments, the parents may also be entitled to a further $1100.

The scope for what constitutes a dependent has also been widened. For the first two payments, the rule was that any dependent had to be aged 16 and younger, whereas now, dependents can include college students, older adult relatives and people of any age who may have certain disabilities.

Sharing a dependent can also make a difference as parents who are no longer together and have a child may be both entitled to receive extra stimulus money.

An issue that some households with outstanding debts could face is that these new stimulus payments do not exclude garnishments. This means that if any households have any outstanding debts such as childcare payments, then all or part of the stimulus money could be used to satisfy those debts.

Inmates are now also eligible for stimulus payments. This was previously not the case but following a ruling by a federal judge in 2020, it now holds that the IRS owe a stimulus check to inmates in prison who qualify for one. If under the previous rules an inmate did not receive the previous payments, then they are also eligible to receive the former checks as well.


You can find out exactly how much you should expect to receive under these new rules here.