Should You Take Your Government Stimulus Checks?

Not everyone is excited about the government’s trillion-dollar stimulus package known as the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” or CARES Act. Some have expressed concern about accepting stimulus payments for various reasons. One such gentleman explained to me the internal discussion he had on whether it is acceptable to take this money.   “Throughout my life,” he said, “I have always tried to depend on God and the abilities He has given me to support my family. I never applied for unemployment when I was officially out of work. Instead, I found odd jobs to support my family, and if possible, others. It always worked out somehow.  “However,” he went on, “this time seems different.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, squinting his eyes as if struggling to find the words, “this time, the government caused it and created an environment where I can’t go out and find odd jobs. I mean, if someone does something that harms you, like a car accident or something, you expect them to pay for the damage. Well, the government has caused me harm, caused damage, and I think it should be responsible for making it right.”

“Well put,” I said, nodding my head.

Maybe you can relate to this gentleman, or perhaps it is not even an issue for you. I do know many are or will be hurting due to the stay-in-place guidance from our government. The shutdown of restaurants and entertainment facilities has caused massive layoffs. Independent workers, like rideshare drivers, have found the need for their services has disappeared. And so, for many, this may their first time accepting government help. What and how you deal with this is between you and God. Either way, I thought it might be useful to take a look at the stimulus check portion of the CARES Act that will impact individuals.

According to the IRS, close to 95% of American taxpayers are eligible to receive a stimulus check up to $1,200. The amount is dependent on what you reported as adjusted gross income on your 2019 or 2018 tax returns. To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident with a valid Social Security number. Below is a quick recap of the financial benefit you might receive.
The total amount of your check will depend on several things:  Marital Status, Filing Status, and Adjusted Gross Income.

If you are Married Filing Jointly and your Adjusted Gross Income is equal to or less than $150,000, then you and your spouse each are eligible to receive a check for $1,200 for a total of $2,400*

If you are Single Filing Head of Household and your Adjusted Gross Income is equal to or less than $112,500, then you are eligible to receive a check for $1,200*

If you are Single and Filing Single with an Adjusted Gross Income is equal to or less than $75,000 or less, then you are elligible to receive a check for $1,200*

Additionally Families with children age 17 and under are eligible to receive an additional $500 per child.

*The amount of the check will decrease by $5 for every $100 by which AGI exceeds the threshold for a taxpayers’ tax filing status.

At this point, it is understood that if you filed your taxes for 2018 and/or 2019, you need to do nothing but wait to get your check. It seems the IRS will either deposit the check(s) for you or send a check via U.S. Postal Service if you are not set up for direct deposit.

Meanwhile, stay safe and healthy and know we are praying for you and your loved ones.
(Mark Minnella is president and co-founder of the National Association of Christian Financial Consultants. He designed the first faith-based professional designation program, Christian Financial Consultant and Advisor, in the industry. He has extensive background as a leader in the faith-based investment movement, is the founder of Integrity Investors, LLC, and the author of “The Wall Street Awakening.”)

4/10/2020 9:32:00 AM – Mark A. Minnella, CFS, CFCA, CKA