Congress is currently negotiating the terms of another coronavirus pandemic relief bill. Many believe this relief act will include another stimulus payment. This can cause confusion when preparing bankruptcy forms. Here is what you should know:
As of now, no one is getting a stimulus check
Until Congress actually passes a new relief bill, you’re not entitled to a stimulus check. It doesn’t matter that the House passed the HEROES Act back in May 2020. It doesn’t matter if the Senate passes a different bill. If it’s not the same bill, the conference committee still has to vote on it.
Bottom line, until the president signs the bill, you’re not owed anything. If your case is filed before the next relief act passes, you don’t have to list it as an asset and it doesn’t have to be included in your income.
NOTE: The first stimulus check under the CARES Act passed back in March is listed as an asset only if you haven’t received it yet when your case is filed.
If a relief bill is passed after your case is filed, no amendment is needed
If a relief bill is signed into law by the president after your bankruptcy case has been filed, you may receive another stimulus check. But, you weren’t owed this money at the time your case was filed, which means it wasn’t an asset at the time. As a result, no amendment to your forms is needed.
After the next relief act is passed
If your case is filed after the next relief bill is passed, and that bill says you’re entitled to a stimulus check, that stimulus check has to be disclosed as an asset on your Schedule A/B. This is true even if you haven’t received it yet when your case is filed.
UPSOLVE USERS: If your trustee asks you to amend your forms to add or update information related to the stimulus check, please let us know at upsolve.org/contact.
It’s unclear whether the trustee will take the stimulus check
The CARES Act passed in March unfortunately did not provide an exemption to protect stimulus funds from creditors and bankruptcy trustees. At this time, no one knows whether the next relief act will provide for such an exemption. If you’re not able to claim a wildcard exemption to protect the expected stimulus check, what the trustee can do will depend on what the act says about it. As soon as the new act is passed, we’ll know whether it includes an exemption and update this article.
Case filed before a new relief act is signed into law ➡️ don’t list the new stimulus check as an asset and don’t worry about amending your forms if a relief act is passed after your filing date.
Case filed after a new relief act is signed into law ➡️ expected stimulus check should be listed as an asset.
If you didn’t realize you were entitled to a new stimulus check at the time you filed, make sure to let your trustee know about it and file an amendment to your schedules.
Reminder: Congress works for you. Go to https://www.congress.gov/contact-us to look up the contact information for your senator and congressperson and tell them what your family needs.