Get your $600 stimulus check? Good. Now make sure the IRS sent the right amount


If you got your second stimulus check already, check to make sure the numbers line up with your situation.

Sarah Tew/CNET

While tens of millions of qualifying Americans have already received their second stimulus check, as of late last week, millions who could get a $600 payment had not received it yet. If that’s you, you might be in a later payment delivery cycle. Or maybe your check is stuck in this IRS delivery error. But if you want to quickly double-check that the IRS sent the right amount, or that you’re actually due a payment to begin with, our stimulus check calculator below can help flag any discrepancies that you may need to follow up on with the IRS.

If you’re waiting on a check and want to dig into what could be causing a delay, check out the IRS’ tool to see the status of your payment and then use a post office service to track your paper check directly to your mailbox. Working out the size of your new stimulus check can get complicated, especially since Congress changed some of the rules around who is eligible for a second payment round. (P.S. Here’s what to know about a $2,000 third stimulus check.) 

For example, there’s a lower income limit this time (you’ll need your adjusted gross income to figure that out) and new rules affecting people with “nonresident alien” status, which could prevent you from getting a check even if you got one the first payment. Dependents aged 17 to 24, along with most adult dependents, were once again left out completely. If the amount in your new, “$600” stimulus check isn’t correct, you may need to try to claim a make-up check on your taxes using the IRS’ Recovery Rebate Credit. This story updates often.

Estimate the size of your ‘$600’ stimulus payment

To calculate how much you should get in your second stimulus payment, you’ll need to enter:

CNET’s stimulus calculator follows the same formula the IRS uses to tabulate your household’s stimulus payment. The result should be considered an estimate, not a guarantee of the IRS’ final check to you. This calculator tool will not store or share your personal information. 

Calculate your second stimulus payment

Use details from your 2019 tax return.

1. Choose your filing status below.

If you don’t file taxes, do this

The IRS is automatically sending the $600 second stimulus checks to recipients, which is a double-sided coin. On the one hand, you aren’t required to do anything to receive it, but on the other, there’s also nothing you can do to correct it. 

For people who don’t normally file a tax return with the IRS, our best suggestion is to take your best guess in the calculator where it asks for your adjusted gross income, taking into account the yearly total of your income, this goes for older adults, Social Security and SSDI and SSI recipients, certain veterans and railroad retirees. The IRS refers loosely to this group as nonfilers. 

Many nonfilers will receive the full $600 per person, but the calculation could be a little more complex with the AGI of a spouse or child dependents in your household. If there’s an error or you don’t get your stimulus check, you may need to file a tax return in 2021 in order to claim your share of the stimulus money in a Recovery Rebate Credit.

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Second stimulus checks: Everything you need to know


Quick reminder about second stimulus check qualifications

One interesting change is that the shift from a $1,200 check to a $600 check also disqualifies some households by lowering the income limit. The chart below demonstrates how, as you reach the upper AGI limit, the amount you’re owed will decrease. 

$600 second stimulus check income limits

AGI to receive full amount (Both stimulus checks) Second stimulus check upper income limit (AGI) First stimulus check upper income limit (AGI)
Single tax filer Under $75,000 $87,000 $99,000
Head of household Under $112,500 $124,500 $146,000
Married, filing jointly Under $150,00 $174,000 $198,000

Here’s our guide for a refresher on all the stimulus check qualifications. Remember, any dependent child under age 17 will count for an additional $600. Also, if you don’t qualify for a second stimulus check based on 2019 data but you would qualify based on your 2020 financial situation, you will not receive a second check this year. However, you can get that amount as a credit against your 2020 taxes.

If you qualify based on 2019 tax information but will be over the limit in 2020, you will receive a second check and do not need to repay it.

Some people may not qualify for a second stimulus check, even if they received a payment in the first round. If you are over the income limit, a nonresident alien or a dependent 17 years of age or older, you won’t qualify for a check. The People’s Policy Project think tank estimates 13.5 million adult dependents will be excluded under the requirements, including 7.3 million students.

For more information about stimulus checks, here’s everything we know about a third stimulus check for $2,000, and how people with payment problems can claim their money with the IRS during Tax Season 2020 (that’s roughly late January through April 15).

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