The Senate passed a $1.9 trillion dollar emergency lighting bill, paving the way for millions of Americans to potentially receive $1,400 incentive checks.
But the new controls won’t be official until the House of Representatives and President Joe Biden give their final approval, which is expected to happen this week.
The proposed new direct payments aim to bring the total money recently sent to Americans to $2,000, consistent with an amount Biden has pledged to Americans.
“This plan will get checks out the door this month for Americans who so desperately need the aid,” Biden said Saturday in response to the Senate action.
Here’s the latest on what we know about those payments.
Who is Eligible for $1,400 Checks?
Full payments of $1,400 are scheduled for those with adjusted gross incomes up to $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married couples applying jointly.
As with previous incentive checks, benefits are reduced for people with incomes above these thresholds.
This time, however, the Senate has called for the income levels at which payments are phased to be cut to zero.
Under those terms, payments are capped for individuals with incomes of $80,000, heads of households with $120,000 and married couples with $160,000.
Estimates indicate that change could reduce the ability of up to 12 million adults to receive the stimulus money.
Another notable change is that dependents of all ages are eligible for the payments. Previous checks only included those under the age of 17.
How Fast Could the $1,400 Payments Go?
Stimulus checks printed at the Philadelphia Financial Center in Philadelphia.
Jeff Fusco | Getty Images
Biden said this week that stimulus checks should go to millions of Americans this month.
That is in line with the expectations of experts.
Those who will be first in line to get the money are those who have already registered their direct deposit bank account information with the IRS.
Those people were able to receive their money within two weeks after the legislation was finalized.
Other debit card and paper check payments sent by post would likely arrive later, possibly in April and May.
What to do if you are still waiting for previous checks?
Many readers have written because they are still waiting for the $600 incentive checks that were approved in December and in some cases never received the first $1,200 payments sent out last spring.
The good news is that the money is still available, in the form of a tax credit. But you have to file a report to claim it. This also applies if you usually do not file a tax return because you have little or no income.
People with adjusted gross income of $72,000 or less can use the IRS Free File, which allows you to file your federal income tax return online for free.
If your income is over $72,000, the IRS has free fillable forms available.
If you have no taxable income, but want to apply to claim your stimulus check money through the recovery discount credit, the IRS recommends visiting its webpage for information, free filing, and resources.