Millions of Americans began receiving stimulus payments from the U.S. government this week through the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion dollar stimulus package passed by Congress to prop up the country’s economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Payments of up to $1,200 will be sent to every American who has a Social Security number, isn’t listed as a dependent and meets certain financial criteria. An additional $500 will be sent for every child under the age of 17. This information will be calculated via people’s 2019 or 2018 tax returns.
Most people should receive their payments automatically — the IRS will use the direct deposit information or mailing address on your 2018 or 2019 tax returns to send you a stimulus payment. “The [Internal Revenue Service] already has their information on file and will automatically send payments to these individuals,” says Erica York, an economist at the nonprofit Tax Foundation, via email.
That’s also true of people who receive Social Security, Railroad Retirement or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), who will automatically receive stimulus payments even if they don’t typically file tax returns. “People in these groups are expected to see the automatic $1,200 payments later this month,” the IRS said in a statement. Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will also automatically receive their payments, the IRS says; officials expect those payments to be sent no later than early May.
Read more: The IRS is sending stimulus payments to millions of Americans this week. Here’s how to get yours faster
How will benefit recipients receive their payment? The government will use the same information it uses to normally deliver benefits, David Hasen, a professor at the University of Florida Law School who specializes in federal income tax law, tells TIME in an email. For people on Social Security, Railroad Retirement or SSDI, the IRS will use the information provided on Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to send payments.
However, some people receiving government benefits may need to take some action in order to receive the maximum possible amount.
If you’re a recipient in any of these categories who also qualifies for the extra $500 per qualifying child, for instance, you should fill out your information on the IRS’s online portal, “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” Try to do so quickly — the IRS said on April 15 that “if beneficiaries in these groups do not provide their information to the IRS soon,” they’ll have to wait until “later” to receive the $500. The Social Security Administration’s website urges people to register their qualifying children before they receive their automatic stimulus payment.
Also be aware that the Treasury Department, not the Social Security Administration, will be sending the automatic payments to SSI recipients. “Recipients will generally receive the automatic payments by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their SSI benefits,” the IRS says. If you use a Direct Express debit card and are claiming the extra $500 per qualifying child, the IRS said “additional information will be available soon” explaining how to claim those children via the IRS’s online portal. (The IRS did not immediately respond to TIME’s question about when that information will be made available.)
A new IRS app rolled out this week called Get My Payment allows people to track the status of their stimulus payment. However, the IRS says if you’re an SSA, RRB Form 1099, SSI or VA benefit recipient, your information won’t show up in Get My Payment. Instead you’ll get a message that says “payment status not available.” But the IRS said that it’s “working with your agency to issue your payment.”
“Recovery rebates should automatically be sent to these recipients, but hopefully this tracking tool will soon be available with information for these recipients too,” says York.
If you don’t receive any of the aforementioned government benefits but still don’t have to file a tax return — a group that includes “low-income workers and certain veterans and individuals with disabilities,” per the IRS — you’re likely still eligible for a stimulus payment. Visit this IRS page — “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” — and input your information to learn more. You’ll have to provide your name, mailing address, email address, date of birth and valid Social Security number. You’ll also have to provide the name and Social Security number for each of your dependents. The IRS has a detailed guide on what to expect when you file. And if you have them, prepare to provide your Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN), a state issued ID and your bank account information.
The IRS also recommends you keep an eye out for suspicious emails, calls or texts seeking your personal info during the stimulus rollout. It’s likely that scammers will try to take advantage of confusion around stimulus check delivery to steal people’s personal information.