Stimulus checks and child support: How both parents might get an extra $500 per child

Stimulus checks for dependents have been rife with points, with some dad and mom receiving no cost and different dad and mom every getting $500 for a similar little one.

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As we look ahead to the continuing negotiations for a second stimulus check to achieve approval, we’re right here to clear up any persevering with questions you will have in regards to the finer factors of the first direct payment, together with how much you have been speculated to get in case you are by yourself or in case you have what’s outlined as a “child” dependent.

The qualifications for dependents will be advanced, particularly if there is a scenario involving little one assist, as a result of there are particular eligibility rules involving dad and mom on each the paying and receiving ends. Some dad and mom who had money owed for unpaid little one assist, for instance, discovered that their stimulus checks (and typically their partner’s) have been garnished.

Errors are typically made, as when the unsuitable guardian will get the dependent test. However some dad and mom who’re separated or divorced whereas sustaining joint custody have truly gotten two $500 checks per little one; one for every guardian. 

If you understand the principles, you may be sure to got the right amount of money in the first check and you’ll estimate how much you could get in the second, every time that happens (here’s our best guess today). And for those who’re curious, this is what we all know about what’s in the next stimulus bill. We repeatedly replace this story.


States have been allowed to take some or all of an individual’s stimulus test cost to cowl past-due little one assist payments.


Your stimulus test may very well be decreased for little one assist

Though the federal government prevented money owed like overdue scholar loans and again taxes from being taken from the primary spherical of stimulus checks, one kind of debt not lined by these protections was overdue little one assist, also referred to as “arrears” or “arrearage.” For those who owe more than $150 in arrears, your state might reserve the fitting to garnish some or all your first stimulus test, based mostly on how a lot you owe. 

And for those who’re owed little one assist, you might obtain cash garnished out of your kid’s different guardian, though how lengthy it takes to get you is dependent upon numerous components (the cash has to course of via the state, which can then difficulty it to you).

A second stimulus test may also be seized (or not)

Relying on which language is integrated into the next stimulus bill — if one is handed in any respect — past-due little one assist might or might not be garnished once more. The Heroes Act, a proposal that was handed within the Home of Representatives however isn’t regulation, particularly prohibited lowering or offsetting the quantity of stimulus checks to pay a baby assist debt. The Senate’s HEALS Act, which can also be not regulation, allowed it. It is unclear the place the current stimulus bill underneath negotiation in Washington stands on the matter.

Easy methods to get the cash taken out of your partner’s test


In case your nonparent partner had cash deducted from their stimulus test for little one assist that you just owe, the IRS will difficulty one other test to make up the distinction.

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Though states had the fitting to garnish CARES Act stimulus test cash from dad and mom who owed again little one assist, the IRS, which issued the checks, says it did not imply to permit states to additionally deduct from a present (nonparent) spouse’s stimulus check as well.

In case you are now married to somebody who isn’t the kid’s guardian, and past-due little one assist was deducted from funds supposed on your present partner, the IRS directed taxpayers in August to fill out a Form 8379 (PDF) as a way to obtain a alternative test. Nevertheless, since then, the company says it’s sifting through to find such errors and shall be issuing alternative checks, though it didn’t present a timeline for doing so. It seems the IRS is ironing out this specific wrinkle, so hopefully it will not be an issue subsequent time.

How joint custody means you must get two $500 checks per little one

More often than not — however not at all times — the noncustodial guardian pays little one assist to the custodial guardian, who seemingly claims the child on their taxes. Typically, nonetheless, little one assist is owed even when dad and mom share custody (when one guardian earns considerably greater than the opposite, for instance). In lots of these circumstances — however, once more, not all — dad and mom alternate claiming the kid on their taxes (one in odd years, the opposite in even years, for instance).

In conditions like these, it is doable that the $500 stimulus funds for dependents may very well be despatched to the guardian who’s owed again little one assist whereas the one who owes receives nothing. If that occurs, the guardian who didn’t obtain the cash can claim it on their 2020 tax return and obtain it together with any refund due in 2021, in line with Janet Holtzblatt, a senior fellow on the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. “Double dipping,” on this occasion, isn’t a glitchboth parents technically qualify for the $500 payment (for a complete of $1,000 per little one).


For those who need assistance determining dependent funds, strive contacting the IRS immediately.

Angela Lang/PJDM

What to do for those who need assistance figuring this all out

Like something having to do with taxes, these items can get complicated fairly rapidly. For those who need assistance and haven’t got an accountant on retainer to help you, you may strive in search of more information on the IRS website or giving the IRS a call. On the backside of the IRS’ letter accompanying paper checks is a quantity you may name for extra data: 800-919-9835. The IRS assist quantity is 800-829-1040.

Keep updated on the latest on stimulus bill negotiations here, learn how a lot you would possibly qualify for with our payment calculator here and see whenever you would possibly get a second stimulus test with our stimulus timeline here.

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Dale Smith