How to get a stimulus check from the US government, which could pay up to $1,200 if you qualify

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  • If the $2 trillion relief package approved by the US Senate becomes law, many Americans will qualify for one-time payments of up to $1,200.
  • To get a stimulus check from the IRS, you need to have a Social Security number and live in the United States.
  • The amount you receive depends on the adjusted gross income (AGI) reported on your latest tax return.
  • The IRS will disburse the funds according to the direct deposit information provided on your latest tax return or send a check to the address it has on file.
  • This post will be updated as more details are released.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A $2 trillion stimulus package, the largest emergency relief bill in American history, passed unanimously in the Senate on Wednesday night.

The legislation still needs to pass in the House and get a signature from the president before it becomes law, but it's likely that millions of Americans will be receiving one-time direct payments of up to $1,200 per person in the coming weeks. Advertisement

You do not have to sign up to receive a stimulus check. The process is automatic for any American who qualifies.

Here's how to get a stimulus check:

1. Have a Social Security number

To get a stimulus check, you need to have a Social Security number and live in the United States. Nonresident aliens, people without a Social Security number, and adult dependents are not eligible.

2. File a tax return for 2018 or 2019

The size of your stimulus check is based on the adjusted gross income (AGI) listed on the latest tax return you filed. For most people, that will either be this year's tax return or their 2018 tax return.
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Americans whose AGI was less than $75,000 will receive the maximum amount: $1,200. Reduced payments will be sent to single filers who earned between $75,000 and $99,000, or married filers who earned between $150,000 and $198,000. There's also a $500 payment per child under age 17 for parents.

3. Check your direct deposit information

The IRS will be disbursing the funds according to the direct deposit information provided on the last tax return you filed. If you collect Social Security benefits due to retirement or disability and use direct deposit, the IRS will use that. It's unclear what date the Treasury will use as a cut-off for processing these payments, but if you haven't filed your 2019 tax return yet and want to make sure your stimulus check is deposited in the right account, file as soon as possible.Advertisement

You don't have to do anything but wait for the deposit to show up in your bank account. If the bank account you previously listed is no longer active, you'll likely wind up receiving a paper check.

Nicole Kaeding, vice president of policy promotion and an economist at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, tweeted shortly after the bill passed in the Senate that about 60% of tax filers provided direct deposit information on their returns last year.

Secretary of State Steven Mnuchin said in a White House briefing that the agency is aiming to get direct deposit payments to people as soon as three weeks from the passage of the bill.Advertisement

4. Check your mail

If you didn't provide bank information on your last tax return, the IRS will mail your check to the most recent home address it has on file. Checks typically take longer to receive since they're sent via USPS. If you recently moved, you should notify the IRS as soon as possible.

It's unclear at this time how the IRS plans to reach Americans at the lowest income levels who aren't required to file a tax return."The challenge will be reaching individuals who don't file tax returns but do not claim Social Security benefits," Kaeding told The Hill.

This post will be updated as more details are released.Advertisement

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