March 15, 2021

FAQ: Stimulus Checks and You


The stimulus checks from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act are starting to come in waves. No matter how much you’ve received or will receive, you might find yourself with some questions about how to proceed concerning this unaccounted-for money.

Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions we’ve received regarding the ongoing stimulus check situation.

When will I get my stimulus check?

Eligible individuals and families to receive a government stimulus payment under the American Rescue Plan Act can expect to begin receiving funds beginning on March 17, 2021. However not all members receive stimulus payments from the U.S. Treasury at the same time.

IMPORTANT: Some individuals, including Tulsa FCU members, might see their direct deposit payments as pending or as provisional in their accounts before the official date – March 17, 2021 – from the Treasury prior to posting.

Who is distributing the stimulus money?

The IRS is issuing stimulus money, not your financial institution. The checks will either be direct deposited into your account on record with the IRS or a paper check will be mailed to you.

Your financial institution can’t access the IRS database to verify when your check will be delivered to you. However, you can check on the status of your stimulus money by visiting the IRS website dedicated to these inquires,
here is a link to that site.

I’m a member of Tulsa FCU, how do I know if my stimulus check has posted to my account?

To avoid longer than normal wait times with our Call Center, members are encouraged to use Online and Mobile Banking to determine if their payment has posted. To access the funds members can use ATMs, debit cards, external transfers or a convenient branch location.

If you receive a stimulus check, we encourage you to use mobile deposit or deposit through one of our ITM/ATMs for the fastest service. Or you can click on https://tulsafederalcu.org/locations/ to find a nearby branch location and their hours of operation.

You may wish to visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment for additional information/questions and to check if the U.S. Treasury has sent your payment via ACH credit.

I’ve been hanging on to my stimulus money because I’m not sure what to do with it. What should I do with this money if I don’t have immediate (or past due) financial needs?

First, this money is your’s to use at your discretion, but if you already have all of your basic living expenses covered, then you might want to think about using this money to build up your emergency funds.

Emergency funds should ideally be robust enough to cover 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses. If you already have an emergency fund, it may have been depleted during the pandemic and need some replenishing. If you don’t yet have an emergency fund, or your fund isn’t large enough to cover several months without a steady income, you may want to use some of the stimulus money to build it up so you have a cushion to fall back on during lean times that are likely to come in the months ahead.

Next, pay off any high-interest debt. If you’ve paid off or paid down your debt, keep saving towards your financial goals. Or meet with a Tulsa Federal Credit Union financial advisor and we can help you invest your money to grow your financial future even more.

Will we pay taxes on the stimulus money we received in 2020?
No.

Stimulus checks are not considered income, and you will not owe any taxes on it. It also does not factor into any refunds you receive or the amount you will owe when you file this year. Stimulus checks also are not being withheld from people who may owe the federal government taxes or penalties from earlier filings.

What scams should I look out for regarding these stimulus checks?

The Federal Trade Commission estimates Americans lost more than $211 million in Covid-related stimulus payments to frauds and scams in 2020.

Here’s some things to avoid to protect your stimulus money from scammers:

  1. Unsolicited calls or emails from the IRS or other governmental agencies saying they are calling about your stimulus check. Hang up or delete. It’s a scam.
  2. Receiving any information asking you to pay a fee to receive your stimulus check. Throw it away. It’s a scam.
  3. Receiving bogus checks. Scammers can make checks that appear real. After victims deposit the checks, the scammers call demanding a portion back claiming the victim was overpaid. If the scammer can receive payment before the financial institution discovers it is fake, the victim is out the money. If you are leery of your check at all, ask your financial institution to review the check. And hold off on spending for a few days until the check clears. And, don’t send any money to anyone. The federal government is not going to overpay you.

You may wish to visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment for additional information/questions and to check if the U.S. Treasury has sent your payment via ACH credit.


This article is for educational purposes only. Tulsa FCU makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as legal, tax or financial advice. Nor does the information directly relate to our products and/or services terms and conditions.