Financial planner explains criteria to qualify for stimulus check

The latest on stimulus checks and tips

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Many Americans are awaiting the $1,200 stimulus check expected next week, especially the 16 million out of work. Yet, there's criteria to consider and not everyone will qualify.

“This is a lot of money that’s going out. Never have we ever had anything like this before. Ever. So, this is unbelievable,” President and CEO of Martinez & Associates, Mike Martinez said. “The stimulus check that’s going out is free money. The government is trying to put some cash immediately in peoples hands.”

The New Orleans area financial planner says most will qualify but some will receive more than others.

“People that have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 dollars or less will be eligible for the $1,200. Also, there’s criteria if you have children under the age of 17, you get $500 for each child,” Martinez explained.

Individuals who make more than $75,000 or couples bringing in more than $150,000 will still get a check, but it won’t be as much. However, those whose income is greater than $100,000 and list no dependents ($200,000 for couples and no dependents), will not. Though parents with children older than 17 don’t get an extra $500, their kids could qualify if they’re claimed as students or if they’re working, filing taxes and are not listed as dependents.

"They thought of everything they could to get monies in peoples' hands," Martinez said. "This is our tax money going onto our deficit. Eventually, we are paying it through taxes."

You don't even have to be an American citizen as long as you're a legal resident or you have a work permit. However, undocumented immigrants won't receive checks and neither will the disabled if they're claimed by a family member.

“If you have Social Security and you’re earning income, you still have the income requirements,” Martinez said.

If you rely on Social Security as your main source of income, you get the money.

Martinez says the feds use your 2019 tax return to determine your payout, but if you haven't filed due to the deadline extension, he says they rely on your 2018 income. If you're unemployed now but made $100,000 or more last year, you don't qualify. However, you'll be able to file for the money on next year's taxes.

“If you owe the government, you might want to wait a bit until you file your taxes and get your stimulus check,” Martinez said.

For those who don't owe, Martinez says it's important they make a plan for their money, if not for now, for later.

"Unfortunately, not everybody will be able to save. We all have bills and expenses," Martinez explained. "It's very tough. But this should be a calling to get people to save in case this happens again."

Financial advisors say it's important to remember this money is separate from any of the loan programs, like the forgivable SBA loan. Federal leaders say more than half of the $350 billion set aside for small businesses have already been approved and White House Officials say funding for payroll protection is expected to run out by the end of the week.

Representatives with the IRS indicate some checks have already been mailed out.

For more information on the money, click here.

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