Your Economic Stimulus Payment: Q and A

At the end of February, President Bush signed the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 – a piece of legislation he described as a “booster shot” for the American economy. This legislation promises payment of at least $300 to all qualifying Americans. Here are some frequently ask questions about the Economic Stimulus Payment, including how to get it ... and how to use it!

What is a “qualifying American?” You qualify for the stimulus payment is you have a valid Social Security number, and you received $3,000 or more in qualifying income in 2007. Only very high-earning individuals are excluded from this.

Qualifying income includes wages, net self-employment income, social security, certain retirement benefits, and pensions or disability benefits received from the department of veteran affairs. Income from Supplemental Security Income does not qualify.

What do I need to do? To receive your stimulus payment you MUST file your 2007 taxes—even if you have no filing requirement this year. To find out where to get free help with your taxes, call Christina at ext. 250.

You must file your taxes with a valid Social Security Number to receive the payment. Taxpayers filing under an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number, or any other identification number issued by the IRS are not entitled to this payment.

Is there extra paperwork to complete? No, all you have to do is file your 2007 tax return. The fastest way to get both your regular refund and the stimulus payments is by direct deposit into your savings or checking account.

How much will I receive? The basic payment ranges from $300 to $600 for singles, or $600 to $1200 for married couples. Taxpayers with children are entitled to an extra $300 for each qualifying child under the age of 17. The child must have a Social Security Number and be eligible under the Child Tax Credit. High-income individuals or couples will receive reduced payments, and very high-income people may not receive a payment.

When will I receive my payment? If you filed your taxes early, you can expect your stimulus payment as soon as May but it is possible that your payment might not arrive until much later in the summer.

What else do I need to know? There have already been reports of scams involving the stimulus payment. The IRS reminds taxpayers that the agency will never ask for personal information over the phone or via email.

How should I use my stimulus payment? Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are suggesting that taxpayers spend their payment to help bolster the economy. Instead, try to think of ways to make the most of your payment! Use it to pay off credit card bills, make an advanced payment on your car loan, or make improvements to your home to increase its energy efficiency. Or, think about your future and start saving for a home or for retirement. You can even triple that money by opening a matched savings account at Cooperative Federal (call Christina at ext. 250 for details). If you really want to spend it, make sure to buy local!

To find out more from the IRS, log onto www.irs.gov or call 1-800-829-1040.

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Cooperative Federal is an equal housing lender
Cooperative Federal accounts are federally insured by NCUA