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Where Americans Are Most Likely to Get the Full Stimulus Check

The coronavirus pandemic has pummeled the finances of millions through lost income and plummeting investments. In response, the federal government is issuing up to $1,200 for individuals ($2,400 for couples) in stimulus payments for U.S. taxpayers with social security numbers.

But not all taxpayers will qualify for a stimulus payment, and some will only qualify for a portion of the entire payment. A LendingTree study examined all 50 states and the District of Columbia to find where a higher proportion of residents will qualify for the full stimulus benefit.

Key findings
Residents of southern states receive the full stimulus check at a higher rate
Less than half of Washington, D.C. joint filers qualify for the benefit
About the CARES Act and stimulus checks
Methodology

Key findings

  • About 84% of taxpayers with a social security number will receive the full stimulus benefit from the CARES Act.
  • Southern states have the highest rates of residents receiving the full stimulus check. Out of the top 10 ranking states, seven of them are located in the South.
  • Mississippi takes the top spot. According to our analysis of IRS data, 91.5% of tax filers in Mississippi met the criteria to receive the full stimulus check.
  • West Virginia comes in second at 90.6%. Nearly 94% of single filers earned under $75,000 per year and nearly 85% of joint filers took home less than $150,000.
  • Arkansas rounds out the top three. Overall, we estimate that 90.3% of tax filers here will receive the full stimulus check.
  • At the bottom of the list is Washington, D.C. We estimate that 70.5% of residents will receive the full benefit. In particular, households who file jointly tend to earn over $150,000 — less than half (44.5%) of joint filers here earned under $150,000 per year.
  • Massachusetts takes the 50th spot. Just below 78% of residents are in line to get the full benefit of the stimulus package.
  • New Jersey falls just ahead of Massachusetts with 78.2% of tax filers able to expect the full benefit of the stimulus package. New Jersey has the lowest percentage of head of households making under $112,500, at 92.4%.
  • As one would expect, higher earning states have lower rates of residents getting the full benefit. Hopefully residents there have managed to build emergency savings with their higher incomes, although they likely also face higher costs of living.

Residents of southern states to receive the full stimulus check at a higher rate

Naturally, the states with the highest proportion of lower earners will see a higher proportion of residents who qualify for the full stimulus check from the government, and vice versa.

In the top three states with the highest proportion of residents qualifying for the stimulus check, more than 90% of tax-paying social security card holders will qualify: Mississippi (91.5%), West Virginia (90.6%) and Arkansas (90.3%). Seven of the top 10 states are in the South: Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

All 50 states are within a 14-point range from 78% to 92% of eligible residents qualifying for the full stimulus check. The list’s one outlier? Washington, D.C., where just 70.5% of the residents in our nation’s capital who filed for taxes in 2018 or 2019 will qualify for the relief in its entirety.

States with the highest and lowest percentage of
residents getting the full stimulus check
1. Mississippi 42. Colorado
2. West Virginia 43. New York
3. Arkansas 44. California
4. Kentucky 45. Virginia
5. New Mexico 46. Washington
6. Alabama 47. Maryland
7. Idaho 48. Connecticut
8. Tennessee 49. New Jersey
9. Oklahoma 50. Massachusetts
10. South Dakota 51. Washington, D.C.
Source: LendingTree.com

Less than half of Washington, D.C. joint filers qualify for the full benefit

Residents of our nation’s capital qualify for the full stimulus benefit at much lower rates than elsewhere in the country for a few reasons. Amazingly, more than half (55.5%) of all joint filers reported an income of $150,000 or higher in 2019; those couples will not receive the full stimulus benefit. In contrast, the next-highest state, Massachusetts, saw 38.4% of joint filers with such high incomes.

Washington, D.C. also has the lowest proportion of single filers earning less than $75,000 by far, at 71.6%. This is 13 percentage points lower than the state with the second-lowest proportion of workers earning less than $75,000: California at 84.6%.

Conversely, more than a quarter (28.4%) of D.C. single filers earned $75,000 or more in 2019, meaning they will not receive a full stimulus check from the government, although they will receive some benefit if they make less than $99,000. All told, about three in 10 residents in our nation’s capital earn too much to qualify for the entire amount.

About the CARES Act and stimulus checks

The $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was introduced to the Senate on March 19 and was signed into law by President Trump on March 27. While the legislation offers a wide array of financial relief measures, Americans have closely followed news of the $1,200 stimulus, the Economic Impact Payment. Nearly half of stimulus recipients plan to spend the money on groceries and bills, an April 2020 MagnifyMoney survey found, and about seven in 10 “need” the money. Some qualified taxpayers reported receiving the money via direct deposit over Easter weekend.

Eligible taxpayers with a social security number can receive up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples, plus up to $500 for each qualifying child.

Eligible taxpayers who qualify for the full stimulus benefit include:

  • Individual filers who reported less than $75,000 in income
  • Joint filers who reported less than $150,000 in combined income
  • Heads of households who reported less than $112,500 in income

Eligible taxpayers who won’t qualify for the stimulus benefit include:

  • Individual filers who reported more than $99,000 in income
  • Joint filers who reported more than $198,000 in income
  • Heads of households who reported more than $136,500 in income

Those who fall somewhere between those thresholds will qualify for a reduced stimulus payment, as long as they filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 and they have a social security number.

Americans living abroad who filed taxes and have a social security number are eligible to qualify. Some immigrants, including green card holders and those who are in America on a work visa, may qualify if they filed taxes for 2018 or 2019, have a social security number and meet the criteria outlined by the CARES Act. Non-resident aliens (those who are neither U.S. citizens nor nationals and have passed requisite tests) and temporary workers, however, will not qualify.

Methodology

In order to rank the states where tax-paying residents with social security numbers are most likely to receive the full benefit of the stimulus package, we looked at IRS data. Specifically, we looked at the number of single tax filers with adjusted gross incomes under $75,000, joint filers with adjusted gross incomes under $150,000 and head of household filers with adjusted gross incomes under $112,500.

In order to estimate the number of joint filers earning under $150,000 we assumed that 50% of filers in the bucket of those earning between $100,000 and $200,000 earned less than $150,000. We assumed 12.5% of head of household filers in the same bucket earned less than $112,500. We then tallied up the total tax returns expecting the full benefit and compared it to the total number of tax returns. We ranked the states from highest to lowest based on this figure.

Data comes from the IRS and is for tax year 2017.

 

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