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How to claim your missing $1,200 stimulus check

Students who didn't get a check and worked in 2020 can still get stimulus money in 2021.

TAMPA, Fla. — The first round of $600 stimulus payments is being issued this week after Congress greenlighted a second check for qualifying Americans.

You can make sure you're issued the payment by updating your information using the IRS's 'Get my Payment' tool. It's currently offline but will be available by the end of the week.

The first direct payment was made summer of 2020 and allowed qualifying individuals to get up to $1,200, married couples filing jointly up to $2,400 plus $500 for every child under the age of 17.

Many people didn't receive their payment because incorrect or outdated banking information or addresses were on file.

How can I get my missed stimulus payment?

That stimulus payment was essentially an advance on your 2020 tax credit, so if you qualified but never received your payment, you can still get it. You just need to claim it on your tax filing for 2020.

"They can get the stimulus in the form of a Recovery Rebate Credit," said Lisa Greene-Lewis, a certified public accountant and tax expert for TurboTax. You can also use the rebate if you were eligible for a payment, didn't receive it, and normally aren't required to file taxes.

The Recovery Rebate Credit will then either lower the amount of taxes you need to pay or increase your tax refund. 

What if my college-age student was claimed as a dependent and didn't receive a stimulus payment?

"If a college student worked in 2020 they're still eligible," said Greene-Lewis. If the student files their taxes independently for 2020, they can use the Recovery Rebate Credit to get up to $1,200.

Most students are also not eligible for the second stimulus check, so they can also use the credit next year to get $600.

What other assistance can I receive through my tax refunds this year?

Greene-Lewis says 2020 has been a tough year for a lot of families, but if they start looking at their tax returns early, they'll have more time to explore all of the assistance available through tax filings this year. "You may be eligible for deductions and credits that are income-based that you may not have been eligible for before. If you have a child you could get a childcare and dependent credit," said Greene-Lewis. 

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