Checks can be rolled out quickly or after a significant delay caused by the Republican opposition.
Photo: Jeff Fusco/Getty Images
One of Congress’s more notable and widely popular pandemic relief measures is direct payments to millions of households. More to come soon: On March 11, a day after the House passed the final draft of the US bailout plan, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan into law. Now, many Americans (including children) will receive a third $1,400 incentive check within days. Here are the latest updates on who gets a third stimulus check and when they can arrive.
Despite the near-constant discussion of “stimulus controls” during the pandemic, Congress and the Trump administration agreed on only two. The first, offering $1,200 checks to adults with an additional $500 for children, was introduced in March 2020 through the CARES Act. The second check brought in $600 for adults and another $600 for children and was approved by the Omnibus Credits and Incentive Bill passed in late December.
Nearly all Democrats and even some Republicans believed that the December legislation was inadequate in scope and scope (for example, there was no support for state and local governments, a key Democratic priority). Meanwhile, the winter wave of the pandemic has reached terrifying new levels, vaccine distribution needs a major boost and the economy, as reflected in December and January jobs reports, looks anemic.
Joe Biden made it clear before the election that he would prefer a new and expanded stimulus package when he takes office. Because there was significant bipartisan support for making that second check for $2,000 instead of $600, the new Biden administration decided to “increase” direct payments with a third check for $1,400.
The payments of $1,400 per person are made to adults, children, and first-time adult dependents. So, as Eric Levitz of Intelligencer explains, “A single mother caring for a child and a disabled sibling would receive a check for $4,200.”
However, the eligibility criteria sparked some serious debate, with Republicans and some moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin complaining that handing out the new check amounts under the old CARES Act formula would benefit families not in need. and will not spend the money in a way that benefits the economy. After amendments in both Houses, the legislation will reduce benefits for higher incomes more sharply.
Here’s how many Americans can expect, with eligibility based on 2019 or 2020 income tax data, depending on what the IRS has on hand:
• Eligible for the full $1,400 check: Adults earning $75,000 or less, married couples earning $150,000 or less, and householders earning $112,500 or less.
• Eligible for a discounted check: Adults who made between $75,000 and $80,000, married couples who made between $150,000 and $160,000, and householders who made between $112,500 and $120,000.
• Does not qualify: Adults earning more than $80,000, married couples earning over $160,000, and householders earning over $120,000
An additional $1,400 is provided for each dependent – including children and adult dependents – with no limit, provided their guardian earns within the above limits.
In addition to a third round of scrutiny, the $1.9 trillion US bailout includes many other elements, including $300 a week in federal supplemental unemployment insurance through September; $350 billion in aid to state and local governments; $170 billion for schools and colleges; $25 billion in housing assistance (along with an extension of the eviction moratorium from 2020 to September) and $5 billion for those at risk of homelessness; substantial increases in the child tax credit and the employed person’s tax credit; paid leave for 109 million Americans; $40 billion for childcare; $50 billion for COVID-19 testing; and $20 billion for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
The decision to move the massive spending package through Congress through the budget reconciliation process meant it could remain virtually intact, but would require the support of nearly all Democrats in both chambers. In the end, only two Democrats voted against the bill, and not a single Republican supported it. The Senate MP’s exclusion from minimum wage provisions eliminated the one issue on which Senate Democrats were publicly divided (although only two, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, objected). On March 6, the Senate passed the bill by a 50-49 party vote; Republican Dan Sullivan of Alaska was not in attendance. The final draft then went back to the House, where it passed a 220-211 vote, with no Republicans voting for it and only one Democrat voting against it.
After Biden signed the COVID package into law on Thursday, March 11, the White House said Americans could see direct deposits appearing in their bank accounts within days. Sure enough, some families have already received their funds.
People can use the IRS’s Get My Payment tool to check the status of their stimulus check.
For those waiting to receive their payment in the mail, this will take the form of a paper check or an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) card, a prepaid debit card. These are expected to take longer than the direct deposits. CNET reported that the first physical checks could be shipped the week of March 15, with EIP cards potentially shipping the week of March 29.
For those who have previously received their last stimulus payments on an EIP card, the IRS will mail brand new cards, rather than reloading the funds on previous cards. The card will be shipped “by US Mail in a white envelope with the seal of the US Department of the Treasury and a return address of ‘Economic Impact Payment Card'”. The front of the card has Visa and the back has MetaBank®, NA, the name of the issuing bank.