Stimulus checks are coming to help American families
Do you have a plan?
The recently passed stimulus package means Americans will be seeing checks or deposits coming their way to help ease the economic fallout of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With the IRS expected to start issuing checks soon, be sure you know what to expect and have a plan to ensure your family's needs are appropriately taken care of.
Get notified when your deposit arrives
Online Banking users can sign up to get notified when your stimulus deposit arrives in your account. Here's how:
- Log into Online Banking, click on the "Settings" tab in the lefthand menu and select "Manage Alerts".
- Select "+ New Alert" and choose "History Alert" from the dropdown bar.
- Under Transaction Type, click on "Description" and in the Description field type, "IRS." This tells our system to notify you anytime you receive a transaction with "IRS" in the description label.
- Under "Account," select the account you used for your 2019 tax filing (if you haven't filed yet, select the account you used for your 2018 tax filing.) This is the account into which the IRS will deposit your stimulus payment.
- Under "Alert Delivery Method," choose how you'd like to be notified of a deposit into your account. You can be notified by Email, Voice Message, SMS Text Message or via a Secure Message to your online banking inbox.
- Enter your email address or phone number then click on "Create Alert."
- You will receive a message that your alert has been saved and you will be taken back to your Alerts page. On the Alerts page, you will see all the alerts you have setup. Click on "Edit" to make any changes.
IMPORTANT: Please note that account alerts are not sent in real-time. There may be a brief delay between when a deposit is made and when an alert is sent out.
If you are expecting a check:
If you expect to receive your stimulus payment via a physical check (for example, if you do not get your tax refund direct-deposited into your account), we strongly recommend members consider alternatives to making a branch appointment. For your convenience, the following options are available for you to deposit your check:
Drive-Up service is available Monday through Friday at our Hilo, Kailua-Kona, and Kaloko Branches. Please see below for times:
||Mon. - Thu.: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Fri.: 8:30 am to 5 pm
||Mon. - Thu.: 7:30 am to 5pm
Fri.: 7:30 am to 6 pm
||(Effective April 20)
Mon. - Thu.: 7:30 am to 5pm
Fri.: 7:30 am to 6 pm
ATMs and After-Hours Depositories
After-hours depositories and ATMs are equipped to accept check deposits from members at all branches. We strongly encourage members who expect to receive stimulus payments via paper checks to place their checks in the ATMs or depositories, allowing you to make your deposit without waiting in line or making an appointment. After-hours Depositories are processed every two hours between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
What will my family receive?
Individual tax payers with incomes up to $75,000 will receive $1,200, while married couple filing jointly with incomes up to $150,000 will receive $2,400 under the stimulus. Families also receive an additional $500 for each child under the age 17. The amount received by single filers with incomes above $75,000 and married couples with incomes above $150,000 gradually decreases with an increase in income.
If you have already filed your 2019 tax return, the IRS will use that information to calculate your payment amount. If you haven't filed that return, the IRS will use the information from your 2018 return tax filing.
For more details, review the IRS' fact sheet here.
How will I receive my payment?
If you specified direct deposit on your tax filing, the IRS will automatically deposit your economic impact payment into the same bank account reflected in the return field. If the IRS does not already have direct deposit information on file for you, the agency said it plans to develop a web portal to allow individuals to provide their information to the IRS online.
What should I do with my payment?
The answer to this question ultimately depends on you, your family's economic situation and economic outlook. However, here are some considerations to keep in mind so you can prepare to make the best, most informed use of the payment coming your way. We've also provided some resources for you to consider in the event you need aid or assistance.
1) Take care of the essentials first.
Right now, the well-being of your family is the most important thing. That may mean the best use of your stimulus payment is to apply it toward your housing, utilities and food. At the beginning of April, the State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs released guidance for homeowners and tenants.
Housing: If you have an existing first mortgage with Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, we encourage you to contact us to explore what options may be available to you.
Food: There are also resources available for those experiencing food insecurity as a result of economic hardship. The Food Basket is a resource for Hawaii Island residents who need assistance obtaining food, and the organization's website lists drive-up opportunities on East and West Hawaii Island for families in need. You can also call The Food Basket at 808-933-6030. A PDF application for SNAP benefits is also available at this link.
- Hawaiian Electric said in March that service disconnections are suspended through May 17. If you receive a notice from the power company before May 17 threatening a service disconnection, Hawaiian Electric said it is a scam and should be ignored. Those facing financial hardship should contact Customer Service to discuss payment options and schedules. For the latest information, visit this link.
- The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply has also suspended service disconnections and is waiving late payment fees through April 30. DWS warned of scammers attempting to defraud customers by threatening shutoff. If you receive a demand for payment, hang up and contact DWS Customer Service at 808-961-8060.
- Hawaii Gas has also said it will not be interrupting gas service through at least April 30, saying customers experiencing financial difficulties can call the Hawaii Gas Customer Care Team (Hilo: 808-935-0021 and Kona: 808-329-2984) to discuss payment plan options.
- Spectrum has also said it will not terminate service for residential or small business customers facing economic hardship related to the pandemic, nor will it charge late fees. Read more about Spectrum's response here.
2) Look after your debts and loans.
If you have debts and loan payments due, consider contacting your lender or credit card issuer to discuss what options are available to you, such as deferred payments or other assistance. If you have an existing loan with Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, please call us at 930-7700 or email email@example.com to learn about our relief programs available to borrowers.
3) Build your emergency savings.
The general rule of thumb for emergency savings is to have between 3 and 6 months worth of expenses you can tap should you need it. But some emergency savings -- even $1,000 -- is far better than none at all, and it's never too late to start. If you can afford it, consider stashing a portion of your stimulus check in your emergency savings. That way, you'll have a little peace of mind amid the ongoing uncertainty. In the event of an unanticipated expense or crisis, you'll be glad you've got some emergency savings so you don't have to worry about taking on more debt. To learn more about building your emergency savings and build a plan customized to your needs, visit our Financial Cents module here.
4) Consider investing into your future.
If your living expenses and debt payments are covered and you've got a comfortable cushion for your emergency savings, you still should consider how you plan to make the most use of it. An investment into something like a share certificate can result in you collecting dividends off your deposit, giving you a better financial future. Learn more about share certificates and other savings opportunities here.
Stay safe from scams!
The ongoing pandemic is also creating opportunities for scammers to target unsuspecting victims. Read more about COVID-19 related scams at our page here.