The Internal Revenue Service has begun distributing money under its ballyhooed economic stimulus plan. Direct deposit payments started this week and will continue over the next few months, but when you get yours depends entirely on the last two digits of your Social Security Number. The payment schedule is broken down as follows:

Direct deposit payments. If the last two digits of your Social Security number are: 00-20, your economic stimulus payment deposit should be transmitted to your bank account by May 2; for those ending in 21 – 75, you can expect your money by May 9; and for 76 – 99, May 16.

Paper check. If the last two digits of your Social Security number are: 00-09, your check should be in the mail by May 16; 10-18, by May 23; 19-25, by May 30; 26-38, by June 6; 39-51, by June 13; 52-63, by June 20; 64-75, by June 27; 76-87, by July 4; and 88-99, by July 11.

Individuals can expect as much as $600, while married couples could receive $1,200. Even people who normally do not have a filing requirement may be eligible for the stimulus payment, though people who have no filing requirement must have at least $3,000 in qualifying income.

Qualifying income includes any combination of earned income, nontaxable combat pay they elect to include in earned income and certain payments from Social Security, Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement.

People with at least $3,000 in qualifying income may qualify for an economic stimulus payment of $300 ($600 for married couples) plus the $300 per qualifying child payment. However, they must file a 2007 income tax return by October 15 to receive a stimulus payment.

Some taxpayers will receive smaller economic stimulus payments than they anticipate. By law, the stimulus payments are offset to satisfy past-due taxes, student loans, child support and certain other debts.

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