Coronavirus: is the US stimulus check a loan I have to pay back?

As Americans start to receive their relevant proportion of the $2 trillion stimulus package, many are asking if or how it will impact them going forward.

Coronavirus: is the US stimulus check a loan I have to pay back?
Jonathan Ernst REUTERS

Millions of Americans are starting to see the ‘rewards’ of the stimulus plan - valued at $2 trillion - as the money divided up based on various personal circumstances is issued by the federal government of the United States. There have been some doubts about whether this money is a loan that will need to be paid back once the coronavirus crisis is over, so we’re here to clarify the situation.

Stimulus payment not a loan

The simple and important fact to remember is that this money is yours. Whatever the amount that you are entitled to is yours to do with as you want, and you will not, repeat NOT, be asked to repay this at any point in the future.

A view of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 13 April 2020, where opposing stimulus plans of Democrats and Republicans were discussed.

Some myths had circulated on social media which caused some people confusion but be clear that this is to help people get through this difficult time and, hopefully, help get the economy running again as quickly as possible thereafter. What you receive (or have already received) is called the ‘economic impact payment’ and is dependant on a number of factors and here you can see how to work out how much this is.

More reading: Will you get a second stimulus check during the coronavirus outbreak in the US?

 If the IRS does not already have the details of your bank account to deposit the money directly, you can contact them and provide it. Alternatively you will receive the money in the mail in the form of a check.

Stimulus payment reminders:

  • The payment you receive is not counted as taxable income.
  • The payment will not reduce any tax refund you are entitled to.
  • Any taxes owed to the IRS will not be taken off the stimulus payment you are due (exception being child support).