For those who receive VA benefits, the third stimulus check could be just days away.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For those who receive federal benefits as part of the SSI and SSDI Social Security programs, the IRS intends to start sending a third batch of stimulus payments this weekend. Not everyone who receives federal benefits should look for checks this weekend, however. If you’re a Veterans Affairs disability or pension beneficiary, you may need to wait a few more weeks to get your third check of up to $1,400. The IRS said it is reviewing information for Veterans Affairs benefit recipients and expects to determine a payment date soon for veterans who don’t normally file taxes.

The IRS has already made millions of payments up to $1,400 each (calculate your stimulus total), sending the money to bank accounts through direct deposit and in the mail as paper checks and EIP cards. But until this week, 30 million or so people who receive federal benefits were waiting on agencies to send updated files with the IRS and get the next round of payments processed. (How to track your stimulus check with the IRS.) Note that all the payments may not happen at once.

If you receive benefits from the VA, here’s what you need to know about your stimulus money, including if you qualifywhen the money will come, when to look for your payment, and if you need to file a tax return in order to claim money for your dependents. Here are other ways the new economic stimulus bill could help you, including if you have children or receive unemployment benefits. This story has been updated with new information.

If I receive VA benefits, do I qualify for a stimulus check?

Yes. The IRS said those who received veteran benefits in 2020 automatically qualify for a payment and won’t need to take any additional steps to receive their payment. The IRS said it is working with the Veterans Affairs Department to make the payments. However, nonfilers are being told they need to file a 2020 tax return if they have dependents that the IRS doesn’t know about, for example a new baby born in 2020 or 2021.

When will I get my payment?

The IRS said it estimates that checks for VA beneficiaries who do not regularly file tax returns could go out by mid-April. Those who receive VA benefits will be able to see updates for their payment information in the IRS’ Get My Payment tool in the near future. We’ll provide an update when we hear more from the IRS or Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get


How much stimulus money could I get?

With the American Rescue Plan, those who qualify for the third stimulus check can receive up to $1,400 apieceDependents — including older adult relatives, college-age children and dependents with certain disabilities — could count for an additional $1,400 apiece (more below).

How will I receive my $1,400 stimulus check?

If you did not file a tax return and you receive VA benefits on a Direct Express card, your third stimulus payment will be deposited to that card, the IRS said. The VA said if you have direct deposit set up with the IRS, you may have already received your payment as early as March 12, 2021. If the IRS does not have direct deposit information on file for you, it will use information from other government agencies to make your payment. 

If you’re a veteran and don’t have a bank account, the VA has a program to help you set up a banking account to receive your VA benefits. With stimulus payments going out over the next week to VA beneficiaries, it may be too late to direct the check to a new account, however.

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Those who receive VA benefits should look for a stimulus check soon.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Who is a qualified dependent?

With the third check, any dependent you claim is eligible to count toward $1,400 going to the family total. Dependents do not receive their own stimulus checks. (Here’s who the IRS considers an adult eligible for a stimulus check.) With the first two rounds of payments, those who received federal benefits had to take an extra step to receive money for dependents, and you may also need to file a 2020 tax form (for free) to claim your dependents for the third stimulus check. That includes babies born in 2020.

Does the stimulus payment lower my VA benefits?

No. The VA said it won’t count any money received as part of the stimulus package as income for determining benefits. For example, if your family of four receives $5,600 in a stimulus check, that amount has no bearing on your usual benefits.

What about the child tax credit?

One source of money you could see in the new American Rescue Plan is an expansion of the child tax credit. For a child age 5 years and younger, parents and caregivers can receive up to $3,600 per child this year. For each kid between the ages of 6 and 17, parents and caregivers can receive up to $3,000. Here’s what we know about the CTC, including more child qualification details and when the payments could arrive.

What about federal unemployment?

The new stimulus bill also renews federal unemployment benefits. The $300 weekly checks will run till Sept. 6. Here’s more information on the unemployment checks.

Can I still get the first or second stimulus checks?

Yes, according to the VA. You’ll need to file a tax return this year and request a Recovery Rebate Credit on the tax form for any missing money you were owed from the first and second stimulus paymentsSee our guide to the first round of checks if you need more details. Here are the main differences between all three stimulus checks.

Here’s more on what we know about the third stimulus check for those who receive federal benefits, how to track your stimulus check and how to make sure you got the right amount of money.

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