The COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges for American families including the millions of “grandfamilies” in which a grandparent is raising his or her own grandchildren. The Federal government announced this week that older adults caring for dependent grandchildren under the age of 17 years may qualify for an additional $500 payment per child. The government is beginning to make payments, but individuals may need to take additional steps now in order to receive a payment without the necessity of filing a tax return.

If you don’t file a tax return or haven’t filed your 2019 taxes, here’s what you need to know:

  • If you receive Social Security retirement (SS), survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), or Railroad Retirement benefits (RRB) and you weren’t required to file taxes in 2018 or 2019, use the special non-filer tool to submit information about children in your care by noon Eastern Time, Wednesday, April 22.
  • If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and weren’t required to file taxes in 2018 or 2019, use the special non-filer tool by the end of April to receive child payments. If you’re a non-filer with eligible children and receive Veterans’ Assistance (VA) benefits, submit this information as soon as possible.
  • If you plan to file 2019 taxes, you may be able to claim children under 17 on your return to receive an additional Economic Impact Payment.

People who receive SSI, Social Security, retirement, survivors, disability insurance, VA, or Railroad retirement benefits will automatically receive individual payments.

If your spouse lives with you, doesn’t receive these federal benefits, and didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019, provide information about them as well. After the IRS sends out your individual payment, you’ll need to file a return to receive the additional payment for children under 17 or a non-filing spouse who doesn’t receive federal benefits.

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