Oct 24, 2021 Last Updated 05:49 AM EDT

Personal Finance

Stimulus Check: Here's When It Can- and Can’t- Be Taken From You

Nov 27, 2020 02:15 AM EST

No one can redirect your economic stimulus payment to cover a debt. However, there are exceptions. In most cases, the money is yours to save or spend after receiving it if you meet the stimulus payment requirements. 

Stimulus Check: Who Can and Cannot Get It Away from You
(Photo : Frederick Warren/Unsplash)
Stimulus Check: Who Can and Cannot Get It Away from You No one can redirect your economic stimulus payment to cover a debt. However, there are exceptions. In most cases, the money is yours to save or spend after you receive it if you meet the requirements for a stimulus payment.

The CARES Act that authorized payments includes a few exceptions allowing the federal government, creditor, or bank to get your direct stimulus check in a few scenarios. 

According to CNET, if you qualified for the first stimulus payment and have not received a direct deposit, you may check or repair your EIP debit cards from the IRS. You may be mistakenly overlooked, or a problem occurred that you need to resolve first. 

Read also: How Next Round of Stimulus Checks May Help Paycheck-to-Paycheck Families

Several eligible groups for the first payment, such as retirees, SSDI recipients, older adults, noncitizens, and those incarcerated, can file for payment claims in 2021. 

Let us take a look at the groups who cannot take away your stimulus check from you.

  1. Nursing homes and landlords can't seize your check - From March, the CARES Act prevents a landlord or a nursing facility from demanding you to give your check for payment. You must be aware of your rights on stimulus checks if someone pressures you with eviction. 
  2. Your stimulus money won't be taken if you owe a car payment - Stimulus check recipients shouldn't be worried about car repossession if they cannot make a payment as they are not obliged to hand over the stimulus money unless it falls into an exception.  
  3. The IRS won't claim it for back taxes - Taxation protects the stimulus checks, and you won't be taxed on your stimulus money. Besides, the IRS will not take it to pay for taxes you owe. It is only up to you if you want to use the funds for that purpose. 

If there are categories that could not take your stimulus money, there are also groups of people or conditions that can take your stimulus check:

  • Private banks and creditors - They may be able to seize the stimulus payment to cover your outstanding debt. In some states, they issue orders forbidding banks and creditors from getting your stimulus check. If you don't want this situation to happen, check first to see if your state implements protection in place that would seize your stimulus check illegally. 
  • Overdue child support - The CARES Act blocked federal agencies and states from taking a stimulus check to pay government debts, but it does not include seizing a payment to cover past-due child support. If separated parents agree to child support, but the spouse failed to do so, the amount would have garnished. They will receive their portion of the payment if a spouse does not owe child support, according to the IRS.

Can the IRS direct you to return your stimulus money?

The IRS confirmed that this year, the payment you get would not lessen your tax refund in 2021 or increase the amount you owe when you file a 2020 tax return. Besides, if you qualify for a lower amount in 2021, you won't have to repay a stimulus payment.

Read also: Without Stimulus Money, These Essential Programs Will Evaporate

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