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Here's who can and can't take your stimulus check away from you

por Alphonse Trigg (2020-12-12)

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Who can garnish your stimulus check? We'll tell you.
Sarah Tew/CNET
If you qualify for an economic stimulus check, you can spend it or save it however you want, right? Not exactly. The CARES Act carves out some situations that will let the government or a business garnish all or part of your direct stimulus payment.We've identified the scenarios that could cause stimulus payments to be garnished. You should know, however, that if you qualified for the first stimulus payment and still haven't received a direct depositcheck or prepaid EIP debit card, the IRS may have mistakenly overlooked you -- or you may have a problem you must resolve with the federal agency. Certain groups who are eligible for that first payment, such as some older adults, retireesSSDI recipientsnoncitizens and those who are incarcerated, must take an extra step to file a payment claim.

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Here are the rules to know when it comes to stimulus checks and debt. This story was recently updated.

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Landlords, nursing homes can't seize your checkThe CARES Act from March prevents a landlord or care facility from demanding you hand over your check to meet a payment. If someone pressures you or threatens you with eviction, make sure you know your rights in regards to stimulus checks and to the eviction moratorium that lasts on all properties through the end of the 2020.The IRS won't claim it for back taxesStimulus checks are protected from taxation. You won't be taxed on your stimulus money, and the IRS will not garnish it from you to pay for taxes that you owe. If you want to use the money that way, it is, of course, up to you.If you owe a car payment, your stimulus money won't be takenLikewise, people who are worried about car service in manhattan ny repossession if they can't make a payment are in most cases not obligated to hand over any stimulus money, unless it falls into an exception below. Here's what we know about missed car payments during the coronavirus pandemic.010-stimulus-piggy-bank-tear-falling-money-clip-weighing-cash-scaleIs the stimulus money really yours? That depends.
Sarah Tew/CNET
These people can take your stimulus moneyPrivate banks and creditors may be able to seize a payment to cover an outstanding debt. Some states, such as California, have issued orders forbidding banks and creditors from garnishing your stimulus check. If you're worried about this happening or you want to challenge an action that's occurred, first check to see if your state has a protection in place that would make a seizure of your check illegal.Although negotiations on another rescue package are currently at a standstill, the most recent proposals on the table (which includes a second stimulus check) would in most cases prohibit creditors and banks from seizing the payment to settle a debt.Read morePeople who are incarcerated may now be eligible for stimulus checks. Here's what's happeningOverdue child support is another exception
The CARES Act blocked state and federal agencies from taking a stimulus check to cover government debts such as an income tax debt, but it does not exclude seizing a payment to cover past-due child support.  If parents are separated or divorced, only the spouse who owes child support will have the payment garnished. According to the IRS, if a spouse does not owe child support, they will receive their portion of the payment and do not need to take any action to receive it.breaking-the-piggy-bank-stimulus-check-cash-money-savings-debt-personal-finance-031If you owe child support, all or part of your stimulus check could be used to cover the expense.
Sarah Tew/CNET
In some cases, a mistake has led to the government garnishing all or part of the stimulus check meant for the current spouse of the parent paying child support (who isn't the child's other parent). Here's how to claim that money by Nov. 21.Read moreYou don't have to be a US citizen living in America to get a stimulus check Can the IRS make you return your stimulus money? The IRS said a payment you get this year won't reduce your tax refund in 2021 or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return. You also won't have to repay a stimulus payment if you qualify for a lower amount in 2021. (Here how your income taxes influence your payment.) For more information, here's what we know about the state of negotiations on a second rescue bill and what a stimulus package from President-elect Joe Biden would look like.




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