Health and Public Benefits

Coronavirus stimulus checks

To help families impacted by COVID-19, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provided direct cash payments to Ohioans.

Ohio Legal Help is continuing to monitor any federal or state stimulus checks for Ohioans. As of March 16, 2022, no new stimulus has been announced. 

Most people who were eligible already received their first, second and third stimulus payments. If you are missing a stimulus payment or got less than the full amount, you may be able to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 or 2021 federal tax return, depending on which payment you are missing.

Looking for information on the Child Tax Credit? Find out how to claim the 2021 Child Tax Credit when you file your taxes.

Last updated 4.5.22.

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The CARES Act provided help to support individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. One way it helped is through direct payments to certain individuals and families.

How much should my payment be?

The amount of the payment depends on your income.

  • For the third round of stimulus checks: Most individuals earning $75,000 or less received a payment of $1,400. Married couples who filed taxes jointly and earned $150,000 or less received a payment of $2,800. Families were eligible to receive an additional $1,400 per dependent. For this round of stimulus checks, the eligible dependent did not need to be under the age of 17. For example, a family of 4 could have received $5,600. Use our stimulus check calculator to see how much your family could expect from the third round of stimulus checks.
  • For the second round of stimulus checks: Most individuals earning $75,000 or less received a payment of $600. Married couples who filed taxes jointly and earned $150,000 or less received a payment of $1,200. Families were eligible to receive an additional $600 per child. For example, a family of 4 could have received $2,400.
  • For the first round of stimulus checks: Most individuals earning $75,000 or less received a payment of $1,200. Married couples who filed taxes jointly and earned $150,000 or less received a payment of $2,400. Families were eligible to receive an additional $500 per child. For example, a family of 4 could have received up to $3,400.

Individuals and married couples that made more than the amounts above may still have been eligible for a payment. Use our stimulus check calculator to see if you were still eligible for a payment.

When should I have received my check? 

The first and second round of stimulus payments were issued in 2020 and early 2021.

The third-round stimulus payments were delivered between March 2021 and December 2021.

How can I check the status or amount of my stimulus payments?

Check your IRS online account or check mail you received from the IRS – Economic Impact Payment notices or Letter 6475 (for the third round).

How did the IRS know where to send my check?

The IRS used the information it already had to issue stimulus payments.

If you had direct deposit information on file with the IRS, you should have received your payment via direct deposit.

If you didn't have direct deposit information on file with the IRS, you should have received your payment as a check or debit card in the mail.

What if I'm missing a stimulus payment? 

Most people who were eligible already received their stimulus payments.

If you are missing a stimulus payment or got less than the full amount, you may be able to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 or 2021 federal tax return, depending on which payment you are missing.

Missing first and second payments may only be claimed on a 2020 tax return.

Missing third payments may only be claimed on a 2021 tax return.

You need to file a tax return for the correct year to claim a missing payment, even if you don’t usually file a tax return. If your return was already filed and processed, you will need to amend it to claim the credit.

You will need the total payment information from your online account or IRS letter to accurately calculate your Recovery Rebate Credit.

Check with the IRS to learn more about the Recovery Rebate Credit and claiming it on your federal tax return.

Did I need to do anything to get a stimulus payment?

The payments were automatic if any of the following applied:  

  • You filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return.
  • You received Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Affairs benefits. 
  • You registered for the first payment online at IRS.gov using the agency’s "Non-Filers" tool by Nov. 21, 2020. 
  • You submitted a simplified tax return that had been processed by the IRS.

You can use the IRS online account tool to check the status of your payment.

Who was eligible to receive a stimulus payment? 

Generally, U.S. citizens and green card holders were eligible for the stimulus payments. Also, a 2021 law expanded who was eligible for a stimulus payment.

In the first round of payments, joint returns of couples where only 1 member of the couple had a Social Security number (SSN) were not eligible for a payment – unless they were a member of the military. Under a 2021 law, these families became eligible to receive a stimulus payment, including the additional payment for their dependent children.

The 2021 law also made this expansion retroactive to the first round of stimulus payments. If your family did not receive the first stimulus payment because only 1 spouse had an SSN, you could claim the Recovery Rebate Credit when you filed your 2020 federal income tax return. 

Can my stimulus check be garnished?

In most cases, no. Most individuals and families should have received a stimulus payment, even if you owe back taxes or other debts to the government or creditors. Ohio law also protects your stimulus check from being garnished by creditors and private debt collectors. 

If you owe back child support, the CARES Act allowed a reduction or offset to your first stimulus payment for back child support. However, your second and third stimulus payments can't be garnished for back child support.    

Read more about how to fight bank garnishment or attachment.

Watch out for scams

Scammers will try to take advantage of people waiting on their stimulus checks. These tips can help you protect yourself:

  • Don't give out your personal information to "sign up" for payment. Only certain people – like those who receive Social Security or RRB and have dependent children, or people who don't file taxes – need to do anything to receive their payment. In those cases, that information should only be given directly to the IRS through their online tools. 
  • No one has early access to this money. Watch out for scammers claiming that they can get you your payment faster. The IRS started direct depositing stimulus checks on Dec. 29, 2020. To check the status of your stimulus payment, use the IRS online account tool.
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