Your third stimulus check — for up to $1,400 — is moving through Congress at a rapid pace compared to the way Washington’s second $600 payment crawled through the spring, summer and fall of last year.
The Democrat-controlled Congress began work on the new stimulus measures in late January, and the legislation is quickly clearing major hurdles. On Thursday, another one was ticked off.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (pictured) just made another prediction about when she expects lawmakers to finish their work and have something ready for President Joe Biden to sign. See when you are likely to have fresh cash in hand – if you can expect a stimulus check in this round.
Stimulus check eligibility is the same as before – for now
The following stimulus checks are part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID rescue package, which is hurtling through Congress under a process that would allow simple majorities to pass. That means the Democrats can get the job done without Republicans on board.
Still, the Democrats thought they could try to attract some Republican support by tightening the income threshold for receiving a payment.
The amounts of the first two checks were phased out for Americans earning more than $75,000 a year, but the Democrats toyed with the idea of lowering that threshold to $50,000. Republicans have said the money should go to those in greatest need, to help them put food on the table and pay the rent.
Last spring, most recipients used their first $1,200 incentive checks to cover essential needs, including groceries and rent payments, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some also spent some of the money on investing, a desk survey that was found, or on other, unspecified things — possibly including affordable life insurance. Demand for life insurance has soared during the pandemic.
In the end, the House Democrats decided that the new incentive schemes would continue with the same income limits as before — meaning if you got a full payment last time, you’ll get another one.
When are you most likely to see another stimulus check?
The targeting issue cannot be solved for good, as the Democrats control the Senate by the narrowest margins and will need every vote on their part. West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has backed the $50,000 income limit and says he wants proof that Americans earning $75,000 are really in need.
Congress leaders are optimistic about receiving the next stimulus checks soon. On Thursday, the legislation passed the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, one of the panels that monitor the government’s wallet.
The committee voted along party lines to “provide the urgent aid our country so desperately needs,” chairman Richard Neal said in a statement.
Speaker Pelosi says the House can see the finish. “We hope to have all of this done before the end of February,” she said at a news conference on Thursday, adding that a bill must be on the president’s desk by early March.
Below that timeline, you should be able to receive your next stimulus check as soon as: the end of March.
What if you need another stimulus check right away?
If you just can’t wait for Congress to sort this out and you need more money? straight away, there are a few things you can do to find the money you need.
Cancel your debt. Are you dependent on credit cards to get through the current crisis? If so, you’re probably looking at a pile of expensive interest. Cut down on that noise — and make it go away sooner — by putting all your assets into a single, lower-interest debt consolidation loan.
Lower your insurance bills. Sitting at home has its advantages. With many of us driving less during the pandemic, auto insurance companies have been handing out discounts. Won’t yours bend? Simple – look around for a better policy. As for your homeowners insurance, you can save hundreds just by comparing rates to find a lower price for that coverage.
Refinance your mortgage and cut your payments. Mortgage rates have fallen, so why not take advantage by refinancing your existing home loan? There are 16.7 million American homeowners who can save on average $303 a month through refinancing, according to mortgage technology and data provider Black Knight.
What if you miss a stimulus check this time?
If you’ve bet on getting a $1,400 incentive check, but your income disqualifies you from receiving the full amount or any relief money, here are a few things you can do:
Get your 2020 taxes filed as soon as possible. Log into a good tax software program and get started on your 2020 return so you’ll be ready to file it as soon as the IRS starts accepting returns this Friday. The agency will base your eligibility for a stimulus check on your most recent tax return, so if your income fell as a result of the 2020 pandemic, registering it could increase your chances of receiving a payment.
Limit your budget to create “your own” stimulus check. Look for creative ways to save, to find another $1,400 in your budget. For example, cancel streaming services and other monthly subscriptions that you do not make optimal use of. Do you have a hobby or a special skill? Turn it into an afterthought to generate additional income. And download a free browser add-on that automatically looks for better prices and coupons when you shop online.