Economic stimulus check, take 2: You could still get money if you've hit hard times

If you didn't get a piece of the economic stimulus pie the first time around this year because you either made too much or too little, you might still be able to get in on it.

To be eligible for a check in 2008, taxpayers had to have a minimum amount of earned income or Social Security retirement income on their 2007 tax returns. There was also a maximum in place to stop high-income taxpayers from receiving a check.

But even if they got shut out on their 2007 returns, taxpayers might still be able to get some money based on 2008 income numbers. So if your situation has changed dramatically -- say you got laid off, or something like that -- you could qualify! What matters is if your 2008 income falls within the parameters set up by the IRS. This is going to mean a little boost for those who may have lost a job or otherwise had lower-than-normal income this year.

How much does the IRS think will still go out related to this twist in the law? Another $10 billion above what's already been paid out. If you didn't receive a check this year but are eligible based on your 2008 income, you'll claim a credit on your 2008 tax return. You won't receive a separate check for it.

Uncle Sam seems to think that lots of you will be eligible to receive this benefit in 2008, so don't overlook it. With slightly higher unemployment numbers this year, it's likely that a number of people will have reduced incomes that will qualify them for the economic stimulus package.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

Recession Watch

    A Saudi youth takes a picture of Koenigsegg CCXR, worth nine million Riyal (2,400,128 USD), during a luxury auto exhibition in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah late October 28, 2008. Despite fears of a global recession, economic turmoil and heavy losses in stock markets, Saudi Arabia as well other Gulf countries continue to announce new mega development projects and host luxury exhibitions. AFP PHOTO/OMAR SALEM (Photo credit should read Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Saudi youths inspect a Koenigsegg CCXR car during a luxury auto exhibition in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah late October 28, 2008. Despite fears of a global recession, economic turmoil and heavy losses in stock markets, Saudi Arabia as well other Gulf countries continue to announce new mega development projects and host luxury exhibitions. AFP PHOTO/OMAR SALEM (Photo credit should read Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    LONDON - NOVEMBER 11: Prime Minister Gordon Brown (L) meets with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at Number 10 Downing Street on November 11, 2008 in London. Earlier Mr Brown gave his backing for tax cuts to combat recession. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

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    LONDON - NOVEMBER 11: Prime Minister Gordon Brown (L) meets with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at Number 10 Downing Street on November 11, 2008 in London. Earlier Mr Brown gave his backing for tax cuts to combat recession. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

    Getty Images

    A sticker made by anti-racket youth movement "www.addiopizzo.org", or "goodbye pizzo", is seen on the window of a shop in downtown Palermo in this October 18, 2007 file photo. Italian shopkeepers pay about 250 million euros a day to Mafia protection rackets and loan sharks and fear that the current recession could allow the mob to further tighten its stranglehold on the vulnerable economy. The warning came on Tuesday from the Italian shopkeepers' association Confesercenti, many of whose members are frightened into paying the "pizzo" -- as protection money is known -- to the various regional crime groups in southern Italy. Picture taken October 18, 2007. REUTERS/Giuseppe Piazza/Files (ITALY)

    Reuters

    A sticker made by anti-racket youth movement "www.addiopizzo.org", or "goodbye pizzo", is seen on the window of a shop in downtown Palermo in this October 18, 2007 file photo. Italian shopkeepers pay about 250 million euros a day to Mafia protection rackets and loan sharks and fear that the current recession could allow the mob to further tighten its stranglehold on the vulnerable economy. The warning came on Tuesday from the Italian shopkeepers' association Confesercenti, many of whose members are frightened into paying the "pizzo" -- as protection money is known -- to the various regional crime groups in southern Italy. Picture taken October 18, 2007. REUTERS/Giuseppe Piazza/Files (ITALY)

    Reuters

    A man looks at a large screen displaying India's benchmark share index on the facade of the Bombay Stock Exchange building in Mumbai November 11, 2008. Indian shares fell 6.61 percent on Tuesday, their biggest fall in more than two weeks reversing most of the 8 percent-plus rise of the previous two days as fears of a protracted global recession saw investors pare risk again. REUTERS/Arko Datta (INDIA)

    Reuters

    A broker looks at a computer screen while trading at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai November 11, 2008. Indian shares fell 6.61 percent on Tuesday, their biggest fall in more than two weeks reversing most of the 8 percent-plus rise of the previous two days as fears of a protracted global recession saw investors pare risk again. REUTERS/Arko Datta (INDIA)

    Reuters

    People look at a large screen displaying India's benchmark share index on the facade of the Bombay Stock Exchange building in Mumbai November 11, 2008. Indian shares fell 6.61 percent on Tuesday, their biggest fall in more than two weeks reversing most of the 8 percent-plus rise of the previous two days as fears of a protracted global recession saw investors pare risk again. REUTERS/Arko Datta (INDIA)

    Reuters

    A broker reacts while trading at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai November 11, 2008. Indian shares fell 6.61 percent on Tuesday, their biggest fall in more than two weeks reversing most of the 8 percent-plus rise of the previous two days as fears of a protracted global recession saw investors pare risk again. REUTERS/Arko Datta (INDIA)

    Reuters

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