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Sen. Jeff Merkley strongly supports “Direct Payments”

Sen. Jeff Merkley
Glen Weaver photo

These past few weeks have been challenging in a lot of ways, and on behalf of all Oregonians, I thank the health care professionals and essential workers who are working around the clock on the front lines of this battle. It’s also clear that hardships are being faced by Oregonians beyond the frontlines, as families in every corner of our state face jobs loses, cuts to their hours, increased child care needs, and economic uncertainty.

As your U.S. Senator, I’m doing everything I can to try to make it easier for people to make ends meet during this pandemic. One of the critical tools I’ve supported to do that are direct payments — direct deposits or checks that will help Oregonians pay their rents, buy their groceries, and keep their lights on. The government began delivering these payments last Friday via direct deposit, and the delivery process is ongoing.

While these payments continue to make it to mailboxes and bank accounts through direct deposits, I wanted to send you a note with some key pieces of information about this program:

— If you’re a single tax filer and you made less than $75,000 annually in the last year in which you filed taxes, or if you’re a joint tax filer and your combined household income was less than $150,000, you will receive a full payment ($1,200 for single filers or $2,400 for joint filers) automatically if you filed taxes for 2018 or 2019. You will also receive an additional $500 for every child in your household.

— If your income is greater than those incomes, but less than $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers, and you have filed taxes in the past two years, you will receive a payment automatically. Your payment amount will decrease by $5 for every $100 of extra income over $75,000 for single filers and over $150,000 for joint filers. (That means, for example, that if you’re a single filer who earns $87,000 annually, you will receive a payment of $600.)

— If your individual income last year was less than $12,200, or $24,400 in your household income, and you therefore did not file a tax return, use this Internal Revenue Service tool to receive your payment.

— If you receive Social Security, you will receive a payment automatically in the form that you usually receive your Social Security benefits (as a check or direct deposit).

— If you are not normally required to file a tax return, such as if you receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, use this Internal Revenue Service tool to receive your payment. Those who receive Social Security benefits AND have dependent children under age 17 should also use this tool to ensure their stimulus payment includes the $500 per dependent.

— If you have not received a tax refund through direct deposit in the past, but wish to receive your payment as a direct deposit, you can file your direct deposit information with the Department of the Treasury here.

— When you receive your payment, know that it is not considered taxable income.

— If you’d like to check the status of your payment, you can do so here.

My hope is that these payments will help give Oregonians some immediate relief from mounting economic pressures caused by this public health crisis. As these direct payments go out, I’m going to keep fighting for other resources, programs, and funding to help us get through this. There is plenty of current information on my website at Merkley.senate.gov/coronavirus.

I know these are tough times. I’m working hard to make sure we have the health care resources, testing, and contact tracing to get this virus under control and start to get back to work, school, and the rest of our lives, even if with modifications. Until then, please keep washing your hands, staying inside, and flattening that curve. Together, we’ll get through this.

All my best,
Jeff

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