June 20, 2021


PC Tech Therapy Blog by Daniyal Computer

Yes, you need a stimulus calculator reality check, even if you already got your payment

4 min read


Whether you already got a stimulus check or you’re waiting for it to arrive, knowing how much money to expect can help you spot problems.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Has your stimulus check been calculated correctly or will you need to claim more money later this year? The responsibility to double-check your payment amount unfortunately falls on you. That’s because there’s no way to know how much money the IRS calculated for you until your payment actually arrives and not even the IRS check tracker tool will tell you. Whether you already got a third payment or you’re one of the tens of millions of people still waiting for a check, it’s critical you know how much money to expect. 

That way, if your payment is smaller than you think it should be, if you don’t receive it or if you suspect there’s a problem with your check that you need to address with your bank or the IRS, you’ll be able to take action. Otherwise, you could be missing out on hundreds, if not thousands, of stimulus dollars you’re entitled to receive. That goes for every group, from Social Security recipients and older adults to people who live outside the US.

Complicating the situation beyond even the previous two stimulus checks is an extended Tax Season 2020. That means the IRS might use your 2019 tax AGI instead of your 2020 taxes, owing you more money that you’ll need to claim later on — for example, if you had a baby in 2020, supported another dependent or made less money. (Filing for that money could involve another Recovery Rebate Credit.) We explain the details below. And here’s the deal with a possible fourth stimulus check, and how to know if you qualify for the child tax credit for up to $3,600 per kid. This story is frequently updated.

How much stimulus money should you get this time? Calculate now

The Senate made a notable change to the third check before the bill was signed into law in March by reducing the upper income limit to receive any check. If your AGI is equal to or more than $80,000 (single taxpayers), $120,000 (head of household) or $160,000 (filing jointly), you won’t be eligible. See below for more details.

Note that this calculator should be used as an estimate only. If you think the check size you receive is in error and doesn’t match your below estimate, it’s possible you may need to claim the rest of your payment at a later time.

Proposed $1,400 stimulus calculator

Use details from your 2019 or 2020 tax return

1. Choose your filing status below.

Below we show who will get the full stimulus amount and when you’ll completely phase out of receiving a payment, using the new guidelines that were officially signed into law. As an individual or couple’s income goes up, the size of the partial payment gets smaller. (Here’s our first stimulus check calculator and here’s the calculator for the $600 second check.)

Stimulus check income limits

Full $1,400 per person maximum (based on AGI) Not eligible (based on AGI)
Individual taxpayer Less than $75,000 $80,000 or more
Head of household Less than $112,500 $120,000 or more
Married couple filing jointly Less than $150,000 $160,000 or more

What if your stimulus check doesn’t match the estimate above?

There are a number of reasons your stimulus check might be smaller than you were expectingor nonexistent. Maybe you receive SSDI or SSI benefits or other federal benefits, which have not been sent out yet? Or perhaps your payment was based on your 2019 taxes instead of 2020? Checks that are missing altogether can be tracked using a few different tools and missing money can be claimed in a few different ways. Read our guide to stimulus check problems for solutions to these and other issues.

Three important guidelines to remember about dependents

These new rules for the third stimulus check will affect you if you have dependents. 

  • Each dependent counts for $1,400.
  • Dependents are no longer restricted by age. College students, adult children with disabilities and older adult relatives will now count toward $1,400 each. 
  • Unlike the rules around the first two stimulus checks, you can’t receive any money if you exceed the upper income limit, even if you have dependents. 

An extreme example of the last one: a single parent of four who makes $120,000 won’t qualify, where a single parent with four dependents who makes $119,000 will still get some amount of money. The amended bill also includes families with mixed citizenship status; that is, where at least one family member is a US citizen.

Expanding qualifications to dependents of any age makes approximately 13.5 million more adult dependents count toward their household total, according to The People’s Policy Project

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Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get


Read more: Stimulus money, tax breaks for kids, older adults: Not just a $1,400 check

For more information on stimulus checks, here’s what to know about the IRS timeline for sending checks, what parents of 2020 babies should do to recoup missing money from the first two payments, and everything we know so far about a potential fourth stimulus check

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Your tax questions answered in 3 minutes


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