President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion stimulus package on Thursday with White House officials saying Americans can get their stimulus payments as early as this weekend.
"People can expect to start seeing direct deposits hit their bank accounts as early as this weekend," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press conference on Thursday. "This is, of course, just the first wave."
Around $450 billion of Biden’s $1.9 trillion "American Rescue Plan" is earmarked to go directly to Americans’ wallets. This round of stimulus checks is $1,400 per eligible individual plus a $1,400 bonus per dependent. Around 159 million households are expected to receive a payment under the new stimulus deal, Psaki said earlier.
In addition to the direct payments, the American Rescue Plan includes the extension of key unemployment programs, aid to small businesses, around $350 billion for state and local governments, an increase in tax credits for low- and middle-income families, and $160 billion for a national program on vaccination and testing. The law also marks Biden's first major legislative win since taking office in January.
The $1.9 stimulus bill passed through reconciliation in the Senate on Saturday and the amended version passed the House on Wednesday. No Republicans in either chamber supported the legislation.
Here’s what you need to know about the third round of stimulus checks.
Who gets a stimulus check?
Under the latest amended bill, a single filer making up to $75,000 will receive the full payment, while those earning up to $80,000 will get a reduced amount. Joint filers making up to $150,000 will get the full $2,800, while those earning up to $160,000 will receive a smaller amount. Previously, the phase-out thresholds were $100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for joint filers in the House version.
Eligibility will be based on your most recent tax return and your adjusted gross income. For the third round of checks, the Internal Revenue Service will use your 2019 or 2020 tax return to determine if you qualify for the direct payment.
Social Security beneficiaries, Disability Insurance beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans Administration beneficiaries all are eligible for the payment even if they didn’t file a 2019 or 2020 tax return.
Eligible taxpayers who used the IRS Non-Filer tool for the first round of checks will be treated as providing returns and will also receive payments.
Additionally, Americans who qualify for the stimulus payment and have dependents will get an additional $1,400 per dependent. Now the bonus can be claimed for college students, disabled adults, and other adults who are dependents. Previously, parents or guardians could only claim the bonus for child dependents under 17.
Deceased people may also receive a payment. Checks will go to all eligible taxpayers who were alive as of Jan. 1, 2021.
Who doesn't get a check?
Those without a Social Security number and nonresident aliens — those who aren’t U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals and don’t have a green card or have not passed the substantial presence test — are not eligible for the direct payment.
Married taxpayers who file jointly where one spouse has a Social Security number and the other doesn’t will get one $1,400 payment, in addition to $1,400 for any child with a Social Security number.
Taxpayers with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) aren't eligible for the payments.
How will the government send you the stimulus check?
The IRS will use the direct deposit information you provided from the taxes you’ve filed for 2019 or 2020.
You may be able to use the IRS’ Non-Filers tool to provide your information like the first round. But so far, the IRS has not announced whether that tool will be available if this stimulus bill is passed.
The tool was for eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents who had gross income below $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019 and weren’t required to file a 2019 federal tax return.
If you have no direct deposit information on file or if the account provided is now closed, the IRS will mail you a check or pre-paid debit card instead.
If you received no payment and you think you’re eligible or you got the wrong amount, you’ll be able to claim it on your 2021 tax return.
Will I get the dependent bonus for a newborn?
If you had a baby in 2021 and meet the rest of the eligibility criteria, you can claim the additional $1,400 per child when you file your 2021 taxes.
If you had a child in 2020 and your return has been processed, you should automatically get the additional payment. If you haven't yet filed your 2020 taxes or they haven't been processed by the IRS by the time the payments are issued, you can claim the dependent bonus on your 2021 taxes
Do you have to pay back the stimulus check?
No, you don’t have to pay it back. It also doesn’t reduce any refund you would otherwise receive.
“No, there is no provision in the law requiring repayment of an Economic Impact Payment,” the IRS website said about the first round of checks.
If your income dropped in 2020 compared with 2019, you may now be eligible for the payment or a bigger payment if you have already filed your taxes and they have been processed by the IRS.
If your payment is too high based on your 2020 income and you still haven't filed your 2020 taxes, you’re not responsible for paying back the difference.