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IRS stimulus check update: What is a ‘plus up’ payment and am I eligible to get one?

Some Americans may be getting a fourth stimulus payment. Here’s who and why.

IRS stimulus check update: What is a ‘plus up’ payment and am I eligible to get one?
[Photo: ElevenPhotographs/Unsplash]
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If you’ve already gotten your third stimulus check—officially known as an Economic Impact Payment—you should be aware you may be receiving an additional payment as well. But first, it’s important to state that everyone shouldn’t be getting excited they may revive a fourth stimulus check. So far lawmakers have only approved three stimulus payments—though a number of Democratic Senators want to send more on a regular basis.

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So what’s with this fourth stimulus check some people may be getting? Officially, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is calling it a “plus up” payment. People who will get this “plus up” payment include those who have already gotten a third stimulus check, but the amount of the check was based on their 2019 income or personal situation and not on their 2020 income or personal situation. The IRS realizes that some Americans may have had a change in circumstances from 2019 to 2020 and so may be eligible for a bigger payment than they received with their third check. At the time the third stimulus checks went out last month, the IRS was not aware of those changes because many people hadn’t submitted their 2020 tax returns yet.

Here are some of the situations where people could have received a smaller third stimulus check than they should have:

  • If they made less income in 2020 than they did in 2019
  • If they had a new dependent—such as having a new child in 2020

In addition to the two above, the IRS specifically mentions “other situations” that make people eligible for a “plus up” payment, but it does not state what those situations are. Regardless, those who will be receiving a “plus up” payment will get the payments automatically. “Plus up” checks and direct deposits began processing on Friday, March 26, with an official payment date of Wednesday, March 31. So check your bank account or be on the lookout for a fourth stimulus check in the mail if you think you qualify.

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Also, if your circumstances did change in 2020, but you have not yet informed the IRS of the changes (by filing your 2020 tax return), know that when the IRS does receive word of the changes, they will send you a “plus up” payment automatically if you meet the criteria.

About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com

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