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IRS Sends Missing Stimulus Checks for Some Dependents

A computer glitch delayed $500 payments requested online before May 17

a 2020 Stimulus check surrounded by 100 dollar bills

iStock / Getty Images

En español | If you received your stimulus payment but not one for your dependent child, help may be on the way.

People who used the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Non-Filers tool before May 17 didn't get their $500 stimulus checks for their dependent children under age 17 because of an IRS programming error. Direct deposit payments for those dependents went out on Aug. 5, according to the IRS, and paper checks were mailed Aug. 7. You can check the status of your payment using the IRS Get My Payment tool.

The checks will be sent to your address of record (in other words, the address where the previous check was sent). If you received your stimulus payment by direct deposit, the dependent payment will go into the same bank account.

If you used the Non-Filers tool on or after May 17, the day the glitch was fixed, your stimulus payment should have included the payment for your dependent child.

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Who is a dependent child?

According to the IRS, a dependent child is the son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister or a descendant of any of them (for example, grandchild, niece or nephew). The child must have been under age 17 at the end of 2019 or be permanently or totally disabled. In addition, the child must have been claimed as a dependent on the 2018 or 2019 tax return (or, in this case, have been entered in the IRS Non-Filers tool).

The child must also:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. resident alien
  • Have lived with the person who gets the main stimulus payment for more than half the tax year.
  • Provide less than half of his or her own support for the tax year.
  • Have a valid Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number.

Dependent stimulus payments are subject to income limits; those limits start with the rules for full stimulus checks of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for joint filers. To get a full payment, those filing a joint return must have an adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $150,000. For those filing as head of household, the limit is $112,500; the limit for individuals is $75,000.

Stimulus payments shrink by $5 for every $100 over the limit as income rises and vanish completely above certain thresholds: $198,000 in AGI for taxpayers filing a joint return, $136,500 for taxpayers filing as head of household and $99,000 for all others. Those limits rise by $10,000 per dependent child; for example, a family that files jointly and has one dependent child would see all payments phased out at $208,000 (with two dependents, it would rise to $218,000).

A few weeks after your payment arrives, you should get a Notice 1444 from the IRS. (The agency won't call.) You can also confirm delivery with the IRS Get My Payment tool. If you get a Notice 1444 and you still didn't receive a payment, you'll have to start the process of tracking a stimulus payment.