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You can still file to claim your missing $500 stimulus payment for child dependents.


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Some parents are missing some or all of their first stimulus checks, granted in March under the CARES Act, which were supposed to contain $500 for each child dependent. If that sounds like it applies to you, the IRS has extended its deadline to claim a catch-up payment to 12 p.m. PT (3 p.m. ET) on Nov. 21.

First, use CNET’s stimulus check calculator to determine if you got the correct amount in your stimulus payment. You should have your adjusted gross income, or AGI, on hand to get an estimate. (If you’re curious how exactly the IRS determines payment amounts, we explain the formula.)

People who pay or receive child support and who share custody of a child dependent could each qualify to receive $500, but you may need to claim the payment if you didn’t initially receive it. But if there are child support debts, the IRS might garnish a stimulus check to help cover them.

Below, we provide the answers to more questions about stimulus payments, including the current state of negotiations to pass a new economic relief package with a second stimulus check, who could qualify for more money and how priority groups determine when you’d get paid.

We recently updated this story.


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How can I claim my missing $500 catch-up stimulus money?

To file for your missing $500 stimulus money, visit the Free File Fillable Forms site, select Get Started and create an account if you haven’t already. Then follow the posted instructions for filling out the form. You’ll need to provide your full name, mailing and email address, date of birth, Social Security number, bank account number (if you have one), driver’s license or state ID (if you have one), each qualifying child’s Social Security number and the child’s relationship to you.

When you’re finished, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Your information will then be sent to the IRS so they can work on getting a check sent out to you, assuming you’re eligible.

Read moreHere’s what’s holding up the stimulus bill

When will the IRS send my $500 dependent payment?

If you filed by the original Sept. 30 cutoff, the IRS has said it will start issuing checks in October. If you file by Nov. 21 at 12 p.m. PT, and the IRS is able to process payments with the same schedule as the first deadline, you could receive your payment in December. If you miss the deadline, however, your check will be included in your 2020 tax return in 2021.

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If you get a catch-up payment, you can either get it sent to you or have it deposited in your account.


Sarah Tew/CNET

You’ll be able to track the status of your IRS payment by visiting the IRS Get My Payment webpage. From there, you’ll need to provide your Social Security number, date of birth, home address and ZIP code.

How does stimulus check eligibility work if you have dependents?

To be eligible, you must be a US citizen, a permanent resident or a qualifying “resident alien.” You must also have a valid Social Security number and can’t be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer.

Here’s where the rules get tricky. On the surface, the rules to claim a check — with or without a child dependent — including having an adjusted gross income under $99,000 (single people), $146,500 (heads of household) or $198,000 (married couples filing jointly). But, and here’s the big catch, because of the way the IRS calculates your stimulus check, you may actually be entitled to some money if you claim a child on your taxes, even if you exceed the income limit.

The CARES Act stipulates a $500 allowance per child dependent in addition to the $1,200 cap for single filers and up to $2,400 for couples filing jointly. (We’ve calculated how much money you might be able to get if rules about dependents change for a second stimulus check.)

There may be specific details you’ll want to explore if your child dependent is adopted, disabled (of any age) or a citizen of another country. Here’s how the IRS defines an adult eligible to receive their own check.

What should I do if I miss the new Nov. 21 deadline?

The deadline to file for your missing $500 stimulus money is Nov. 21, but if you miss the deadline, you can still get your payment. When you file your taxes in 2021, you can claim the additional amount on behalf of eligible dependents. The IRS will use either your 2019 or 2018 tax return to determine how much you’re owed and is expected to post instructions online closer to tax season next year. 

For more information about stimulus payments, here’s how fast the IRS could send out a second stimulus payment if a bill is passed issuing them. And if you still haven’t received your stimulus check and you think it’s lost or missing, try this IRS phone number to file a report.

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