Congress is expected to approve another round of stimulus checks for most Americans in March — here’s what you need to know.
The House approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package early Saturday. that includes $1,400 checks for most Americans and billions of dollars for schools, state and local governments and businesses.
Republicans overwhelmingly oppose the bill, expressing concern that the spending is far more than necessary and intended to advance policy priorities beyond helping Americans through the pandemic. Democrats and President Joe Biden argue that a robust aid package is needed to prevent a long and painful recovery from the pandemic.
Related: Michigan Democrats Call for Immediate Release of Federal COVID Relief Funds
Who is eligible for a $1,400 stimulus payment?
The legislation provides for a $1,400 rebate for a single taxpayer, or $2,800 for a married couple applying together, plus $1,400 per dependent. Individuals earning up to $75,000 get the full amount, as do married couples earning up to $150,000.
The size of the check would shrink for those earning slightly more, with a hard cap of $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples, according to changes agreed upon by President Biden and Senate Democrats.
UPDATE: Democrats OK have tightened income limits for stimulus checks in COVID relief
Under current law, most taxpayers can reduce their federal income taxes by up to $2,000 per child. The package going through the House would increase the tax break to $3,000 for each child ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 for each child under 6.
The legislation also requires payments to be made monthly rather than in one lump sum. If the Minister of Finance determines that this is not feasible, the payments should be made as often as possible.
Also, families would get full credit no matter how little they earn in a year, even a few hundred dollars, sparking criticism that the changes would be a barrier to work. Add in the $1,400 per person checks and other items in the proposal, and the legislation would cut the number of children living in poverty by more than half, according to an analysis by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University.
When could Americans start seeing payments?
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set a goal to get the legislation on Joe Biden’s desk by March 14. The Senate could hold a final vote this weekend or early next week.
Based on the IRS time frame of the last payment round, payments can begin within a few days of passing. So if the bill was signed late next week (March 12), payments should start by March 17 or so. The IRS has not confirmed a timeline and will not do so until the legislation is signed into law.
You will receive payments faster if you are set up for direct deposit with the IRS. The checks would probably be issued a few days later.
Read more: Highlights of the COVID-19 relief bill advancing in Congress
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