Third stimulus check and child support: What to know about the new payment

The new American Rescue Plan includes a handful of provisions designed to help families with children, including an expansion to the Child Tax Credit, financial assistance to help cover the cost of child care, and broader guidelines around which children — and adults — qualify for a third stimulus check worth up to $1,400 per person. (Here’s when your check could arrive, and how to track it.) The new rules close one loophole with child support payments but may leave open a second.

As with the first and second checks, there are lots of questions around how much money parent who share custody of a child can receive and how your taxes play into your total check total. In some cases, calculating your total stimulus check money may be straightforward. In others, complications could affect you and the child’s other parent.

We’ll explain the thorny details of child support situations and stimulus checks, including the details revealed in the final bill (PDF) and what to do if you didn’t get as much as you think you should from the first two checks.

How is child support connected to the third stimulus payment?

With the third check, if you’re past due on child support, you can still receive your full stimulus payment. It won’t be redirected to cover late support payments. This holds true for any past-due federal or state debts: Your third payment is not subject to reduction or offset. However, private debt collectors may be able to redirect your payment to cover a debt.

Also, the IRS can withhold all or part of a stimulus payment if you are claiming it as Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your taxes. An independent taxpayer advocacy group within the IRS is working with the agency to address this issue.

New dependent guidelines open up who qualifies for stimulus money

The third stimulus check makes dependents of all ages count toward the family total, for $1,400 apiece. This time around, a qualifying dependent is anyone you claim on your taxes, including a qualifying child younger than 19 years old, a student younger than 24 years old or a qualifying relative who relies on you for care.

How other qualification adjustments affect your stimulus check

The new stimulus payment are “targeted,” which means that fewer people qualifying overall. The checks come with a sharp income cutoff, so that if you make above a certain amount — say, $120,000 as a head of household — you wouldn’t be eligible for any stimulus check money, even if you have multiple dependents. The date you file your taxes, and when the IRS processes that payment, could also play a significant role in whether or not you’d receive a full or partial payment, or maybe none…Read more>>


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