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What do I have to do to get my payment?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and Greater Boston Legal Services
Reviewed January 4, 2021

What do I have to do to get my payment? I filed my tax returns for 2019 or 2018.

If you filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018, you do not need to do anything more.  The IRS will send you a payment.

If you already set up a direct deposit on your return, the IRS will use that bank account information.

After the middle of April, check to make sure the IRS has correct banking information for you, or update your information. See the IRS Get My Payment page.

If you did not set up a direct deposit on your return, the IRS will send a check to the address you used in your tax return.

What if I have not filed my 2019 taxes yet?

The deadline for filing  2019 taxes was November 30, 2020. File now. If you did not file, the IRS uses the information from your 2018 taxes to figure out the amount of your payment and where to deposit or send your money.

If can use a computer and get online, the IRS has free tools to help you file your federal taxes.

If you need help filing your tax return and you live in Massachusetts, and your income is low enough you can get free help with your taxes from a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Agency (VITA). Find a VITA near you.

What if  I do not have to file taxes because I have a low income or I get TAFDC or EAEDC?

Use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info  on the IRS website. Use this tool if you do not have to file taxes normally, and your gross income in 2019 was:

  • $12,200 or less for an individual, or
  • $24,400 or less for a married couple.


You can get  $500 in the first stimulus payment for each qualifying child age 16 or under by listing them on this form.

You will need to include the following information on the form:

  • Full name, current mailing address and an email address,
  • Date of birth and valid Social Security number,
  • Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one,
  • Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one,
  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one,
  • For each qualifying child: name, Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse.

Instructions for filling out this form are on the IRS website.

Get help getting your stimulus payment if you do not file taxes.

How do I get my payment if I get Social Security, SSDI, Survivors benefits, SSI, Railroad Retirement benefits or Veterans benefits and I do not file taxes?

I got Social Security retirement, SSDI, survivors benefits, SSI, Railroad Retirement benefits, or VA Compensation and Pension in 2019.

The IRS will use information from Social Security to send you a payment. 

Important: If you have qualifying children, you can enter their information in the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info form on the IRS website to get payments for them. 

I started getting Social Security retirement, SSDI, survivors benefits, SSI, Railroad Retirement benefits, or VA Compensation and Pension in 2020.

The IRS will not send you the payment automatically. You will need to use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info form or file a tax return to get the payment.  You can also enter information about your qualifying children.

How will I get my stimulus payment?

  • Direct deposit: If the IRS has your direct deposit bank account information, they will probably deposit the money into your bank account.
  • Paper check: Some people will be sent a paper check.
  • Direct Express card: Some people who get social security or other federal benefits will get the payment on their Direct Express card.
  • Debit card: The government is sending some people a prepaid debit card.  The debit cards arrive in a plain envelope from "Money Network Cardholder Services." The Visa name will appear on the front of the Card; the back of the Card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A. Information included with the Card will explain that the card is your Economic Impact Payment Card. More information is on the IRS website.
    • Important: Some people have thrown away their stimulus payment debit cards because they thought it was a scam. You can ask for a new card by calling MetaBank customer service: 1.800.240.8100. There is a $7.50 fee for replacement cards but the first replacement is free. 
    • You can use the card to take money out of an ATM, to buy things from stores that take Visa Debit cards, and more.  You can also transfer the money on the debit card to your bank.  But be careful -- there may be a fee for some of these actions. The MetaBank website has more information about how you can use your card.  It also tells you what actions are free and what actions have extra fees.

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