COVID-19 Response in New York City

Information compiled by helpNYC for our Neighbors in New York City

The CARES Act - Economic Impact Payments

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 2:30pBack to Index

Hello Neighbors,

Food Assistance Programs, social service agencies, and individuals have reached out to helpNYC asking for information about the Federal Stimulus Package's Direct Payments to individuals and families across America. Though our initiative cannot provide direct services around this topic, we have compiled information as of the publishing date of this article that is available on the internet to everyone. What we have complied is below.



Joshua Parkin

Founder of helpNYC
DISCLAIMERhelpNYC does not provide direct services around financial assistance beyond the listings at helpNYC is not a financial services provider and a licensed professional should be consulted before making any financial decisions.

Compiled information about the CARES Act Stimulus Payments:

  • The CARES Act - Federal Stimulus - Direct Payments - Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Check) are being issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury with the help of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

    • Eligibility Criteria for the Economic Impact Payments

      • Eligibility is based on gross income. Individual Adults will receive up to $1,200. Married couples will receive up to $2,400. The parent(s) of children will receive up to $500.00 for each qualifying child.

      • Individuals with gross incomes of $75,000 or less, and Married couples with gross incomes of $150,000 or less will receive the full payments mentioned above.

        • For Individuals and married couples earning about the $75,000/$150,000 threshold the payment will decrease based on income.

      • Those who have no children and gross incomes over $99,000/$198,000 are not eligible for the payment.

      • For individuals who are Social Security recipients and/or railroad retirees who usually aren't required to file a tax return are eligible for the payment.

  • Payments Information

    • Payments are based on 2019 or 2018 IRS tax returns.

      • If the IRS has your direct deposit information on the 2018 or 2019 tax returns the payment will be issued to the account listed on the most recent tax return.

    • For Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who have not filed 2018 or 2019 IRS tax returns, the IRS will use the information from Form SSA-1099 and/or RRB-1099 to generate the payment to recipients listed on the respective forms. The IRS will not have information about dependents so individuals will receive $1,200 per person, without additional amounts for any dependants at this time. For Social Security recipients payments will be sent directly to their bank account.

    • If the IRS does not have a person's banking information, the Department of Treasury will be setting up an online portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS.

    • The payment schedule is not clear. The US Treasury says the payments will be issued throughout 2020. Generally, direct deposit payments should start by the third week of April 2020. Payments made by US Treasury paper check may take until August of 2020 to be issued.

Suggestions if there are concerns about receiving payments:

  • FILE A 2019 FEDERAL TAX RETURN - Regardless of income (even if an individual doesn't have any income) file a 2019 federal tax return and provide your banking information on the form. This seems to be the best way for the IRS to get your income and banking information. The deadline to file a 2019 federal and state tax return has been changed to July 15, 2020 at 11:59p. For Social Security recipients please keep in mind if you don't normally pay taxes you should not file a 2019 tax return because the IRS already has your income and banking information.

    • NYC Free Tax Prep Service with VITA/TCE certified volunteers.

      • VITA/TCE is a free service for people who generally have gross incomes less $69,000, persons with disabilities, and those who are over the age of 60.

      • NYC Free Tax Prep's website provides listings for local VITA/TCE in person and dropoff VITA/TCE centers.

      • Effective March 23, 2020 for the health and safety of their volunteers and staff all NYC Free Tax Prep sites are closed. They plan to reopen if the situation allows.

      • More information at:

    • VITA/TCE

      • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a program of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for people who generally made up to $64,000 in 2019 tax year, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

      • More information:


    • IRS Filing Information:

    • Taxpayer Assistance Centers are temporarily closed until further notice. Online and phone assistance is available.

  • US TREASURY PORTAL - For those who don't have their banking information on file with the IRS, I checking the US Treasury website and the IRS Coronavirus Response website regularly for information about the portal that the US Treasury is going to set up to provide your banking information to receive the payment.

  • NO BANK ACCOUNT? - If you do not have a bank account to receive the payment by direct deposit, setup one. For those who have barriers, like poor credit history, here are some ideas:


      • The City of New York's Department of Consumer Affairs operates the NYC SafeStart Account program. This program allows every New Yorker a banking account at participating banks and credit unions. Participating banks and credit unions will accept IDNYC to open an account. The NYC SafeStart Account does not have overdraft fees; monthly fees, if the minimum balance requirement is maintained (usually $25.00 or less); and an ATM Card is provided.

      • More information:

    • ONLINE BANKS - Online only banks like Chime, Zaro, Simple, N26, and others provide great service, low or no fees, and early deposit availability.

    • PREPAID DEBIT CARDS - Most major prepaid debit card products like Green Dot, American Express Serve, Netspend, and Walmart MoneyCard offer direct deposit services. These products have websites to find more information. Most check cashing stores in New York City also can help you select the right prepaid debit card as well.

DISCLAIMERhelpNYC does not provide direct services around financial assistance beyond the listings at helpNYC is not a financial services provider and a licensed professional should be consulted before making any financial decisions.