Economic Stimulus Rebates: Frequently Asked Questions

In 2008, Congress passed, and President Bush signed into law, the “Economic Stimulus Act of 2008” to provide tax rebates, or stimulus checks, to lower-income and middle-income working families, certain seniors and disabled veterans. 2,900,000 residents of Massachusetts were eligible to file for and receive a 2008 stimulus check.

What is the stimulus check?

The stimulus check is a tax credit for the 2008 income tax year. The check is intended to spur economic activity.

Am I eligible for a stimulus check?

Generally, you are eligible if you file a 2007 income tax return reporting earned income, Social Security income, or disabled veterans' benefits of more than $3,000. If you are claimed as a dependent on someone else's return, then you are not eligible.

What do I need to do to receive my stimulus check?

You must file a 2007 income tax return in order to receive a stimulus check this year. There is no additional form needed for the stimulus check. The Treasury Department will determine the amount of the check based on your 2007 income tax return and will automatically send it to you.

There are special filing instructions for recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, and certain veterans' benefits. These instructions can be found at or by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

A package of information from the IRS, including forms, is also available for download HERE (PDF document).

How much money will I receive?

The IRS has an economic stimulus calculator on its website ( for you to use to estimate the amount of your stimulus check. Taxpayers generally will receive a rebate check of $600 ($1,200 in the case of a joint return). Most taxpayers with $3,000 of qualifying income will be guaranteed a minimum rebate check of $300 ($600 for a joint return). "Qualifying income" is the sum of your earned income, Social Security benefits, veterans' payments and Railroad Retirement benefits. In addition, a taxpayer is eligible for an additional $300 for each dependent.

The credit phases out for those taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 (or $150,000 for a joint return) or more, generally at a rate of $50 per $1,000 of adjusted gross income above $75,000.  Some higher-income taxpayers will not receive a stimulus payment or will receive a reduced payment

When will I receive my check?

The Treasury Department expects to begin issuing stimulus checks on May 2, 2008, continuing through the spring and early summer. The checks will be sent out, for returns processed by April 15th, in the order of the last two digits of your Social Security number. If you file your return requesting your income tax refund via direct deposit, you will also receive your stimulus check via direct deposit. Those stimulus checks issued via direct deposit will be received sooner than those sent out as paper checks.

Find out more information about the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 by visiting the IRS website ( or by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.