The Next COVID Stimulus Checks: What You Need to Know
Most Americans are eligible for the payments from the government, which will be sent out pending this week's passage of the latest stimulus bill
The Senate on Saturday passed Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill, meaning most Americans will be getting a third payment from the government over the next few weeks, once the House of Representatives gives its final approval.
While Republicans uniformly opposed the legislation, saying it was too expensive and unfocused, the Biden White House and the Democratic majority in Congress said the money was a much needed injection after a bruising pandemic year.
"This nation has suffered too much for much too long," Biden, 78, said after the Senate vote. "Everything in this package is designed to relieve the suffering and to meet the most urgent needs of the nation, and put us in a better position to prevail."
The latest round of stimulus checks are a signature part of the COVID-19 bill. The payments follow $1,200 and $600 checks sent to many Americans last year.
Senate Democrats revised the requirements for the upcoming checks — capping off the aid at individuals who make $80,000 — in a move reflecting concerns over the bill's cost. Originally, people making up to $100,000 were eligible for some form of payment, and the change drew criticism from progressives who said it was too frugal.
Still, some 90 percent of households will be eligible for the third round of payments, according to CNN. Here's what you need to know.
Who is eligible to receive the checks?
Individuals making less than $75,000 per year or couples making less than $150,000 combined per year are eligible to receive the full stimulus payments of $1,400. Dependents in families who earn less than $150,000 combined will be eligible for a check as well.
Individuals making between $75,000-$80,000 will get a smaller check, while people making above that cutoff will not receive a check at all.
A single parent with dependents who earns up to $112,500 would also receive the full $1,400 amount as would their dependents.
Any single parent with dependents making up to $120,000 would still receive a check, but for a lesser amount. Single parents with dependents making above that cutoff will not be eligible for a check.
To determine income eligibility, the IRS will refer to an individual's most recent tax return, including for 2020 if already filed.
How much are the payments for?
Individuals eligible for the full payment will receive $1,400.
Married couples will receive two $1,400 checks, while each child or dependent will also receive a $1,400 check.
People whose income puts them in the category where their payments are phased out — if they made between $75,000 and $80,000, for example — will receive reduced checks.
The text of the Senate-approved bill has been adapted into various check calculators.
When will payments be sent out?
The COVID-19 relief bill is still waiting for final approval from the House and then Biden's signature. Afterward, CBS News reports that checks are expected to go out within a week.
The last found of payments, in December, were disbursed within days of the legislation becoming law.
The IRS is expected to send payments directly to individuals' bank accounts, where it has that information, and will also mail checks and pre-loaded debit cards as it did with the previous stimulus.
Will this be the last round of checks?
Although 58.9 million Americans have been vaccinated so far, according to The Washington Post, COVID-19 still has a tight grip on the economy — which is recovering but slowly. More than 10 million people were still unemployed as of January, Bloomberg reports. That's about double the amount from the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic.
Democrats have not ruled out another COVID-19 stimulus bill, though future packages are likely to become increasingly tough to pass.
The latest legislation also includes enhanced unemployment benefits through early September.
"Our No. 1 lodestar is going to be helping the American people, and if they need more help we'll do another bill," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Saturday, according to CNBC. "If this bill is sufficient, and I think it's going to help in a big way, then we won't do another bill."