Third stimulus check news summary: 15 February 2021

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Third stimulus check updates today: when it's coming, how much, $3600 child tax credit | Live

Stimulus check news: 15 February 2021

Headlines

- Congress on recess, delaying stimulus check payments further

- Stimulus checks and child tax credits approved by House Ways and Means Committee (full story)

- Progressive lawmakers table new proposal for $2,000 stimulus checks

- President Biden urges Congress to "pass the American Rescue Plan and deliver much-needed relief"

- IRS issues guidelines on stimulus checks rebates as we enter tax season (how to claim)

- Child tax credit and stimulus check boost could halve child poverty in the US

- Biden commits to $1,400 stimulus checks, but eligibility still being discussed (full story)

- Global spending on green economic stimulus slowly tracking upwards 

- Senate adopts budget resolution that will allow the $1.9tn stimulus bill to be passed

- Over 50 House progressives sign letter calling for stimulus check thresholds to remain the same

- Governor Larry Hogan signs bipartisan $1.2 billion RELIEF Act in Maryland

- For the latest stimulus check news in Spanish (las noticias sobre los cheques de estímulo en español a través de este enlace)

- US covid-19 cases/deaths: 27.6 million / 486,317 (live updates)

GDP impact of stimulus relief

Bloomberg's Christophe Barraud has been assessing the likely effects of President Biden's new relief package and suggests that 'total excess savings should exceed $2Trn in early 2Q and would translate into a bounce of real PCE.'

He continues that, 'Coupled with a global synchronised recovery, GDP will probably skyrocket in 2Q, creating a very strong base effect for the full year.'

'Poorest will feel stimulus benefit'

According to the report, those in the lowest income bracket should see an increase of around a third.

The question on the lips of those individuals and families, of course, is how quickly they are likely to see the returns.

US stimulus boosts global shares

European shares hovered near one-year highs on Tuesday as investors held out for a bumper US stimulus package to drive global economic growth, while Glencore led a rally among mining stocks following an upbeat trading update.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.2% by 0802 GMT, after jumping 1.3% in the previous session to its highest level since February 2020. The index is about 14% below its all-time high.

Glencore jumped 3.3% after reinstating its dividend, while BHP Group rose 0.3% as the world's largest listed miner posted its best first-half profit in seven years and declared a record interim dividend.

The European mining index jumped 1.5% to its highest level since July 2011.

Investor focus will shift to a flash reading of the euro zone's fourth-quarter GDP estimate later in the day, with Reuters economists expecting the economy to have contracted 5.1% year-on-year.

Iraqi veteren denied stimulus check

Franklin Jackson from Wichita, Kansas, said the federal government owes him not one, but two income tax refunds, according to a report on Tuesday.

But he isn’t getting his money because the Internal Revenue Service allegedly told him its records list him as “deceased.” The 52-year-old veteran served in Desert Storm and the Iraq War - and now works at Kaman Composites.

Despite being able to back up who he is and his status with several documents and identification cards - the IRS still have him down as being deceased.

We're confident that this will be resolved.

House pushing to pass covid-19 relief bill before end of month 

The House is pushing forward with their version of the $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill they could send their bill to the Senate as soon as next week. 

Read the full story:

Dodger Stadium opened again for covid-19 jabs 

Los Angeles will open Dodger Stadium along with other covid-19 vaccination sites again this week to administer covid-19 vaccinations. However due to limited supplies the vast majority of shots administered will be second doses starting Tuesday.  

People vaccinated in mid-January were automatically slotted into appointments for most of the city’s anticipated weekly supply. Just 4,600 doses will be set aside for initial inoculations.  

Last week the vaccination sites were closed due to shortages of the two available covid-19 vaccines. The Biden administration has been working to ramp up vaccine production and distribution around the country. Providers across the country are administering about 1.67 million doses per day on average. 

Call for covid-19 relief funds to target black businesses 

Civil rights activists and business leaders have asked President Joe Biden's administration to include funding targeted specifically for Black-owned businesses in the next covid-19 relief package. They also say that without the federal aid many businesses could be forced to close their doors in the next 90 days. 

According to the New York Federal Reserve, the number of Black businesses fell by 41% between February and April of 2020. In comparison, white businesses declined by only 17% and overall small businesses saw a 22% drop. Black-owned businesses say they were rejected by banks for loans and overlooked in the first two rounds of Paycheck Protection Program funding. 

During a meeting with VP Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Black leaders repeatedly asked if the stimulus package would include exclusive funding for Black businesses. Harris emphasized that the plan would benefit Black Americans while including targeted aid for all minority and women-led businesses.

New York unemployment benefits booster

A January boost to New York unemployment benefits brought stability in jobless support to those who continue to work part-time. Here’s how to apply for weekly benefit.

Read the full story:

Maryland stimulus checks approved

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan approved the RELIEF Act of 2021 today, which promises direct stimulus checks to low to moderate income families. 

This relief begins with immediate payments of $500 for families and $300 for individuals who filed for the Earned Income Tax Credit

Similar to federal stimulus payments, no application for relief is necessary.

Marylanders would qualify for these payments who annually earn: 

$50,954 ($56,844 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children

$47,440 ($53,330 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children

$41,756 ($47,646 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child

$15,820 ($21,710 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children

The payments provide $178 million in relief to 400,000 Marylanders.  In addition, the legislation increases the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit to 45% for families and 100% for individuals.

The RELIEF Act also enhances the Earned Income Tax Credit for these same 400,000 Marylanders by an estimated $478 million over the next three tax years.

Hogan signs Maryland RELIEF Act 

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, with the leaders of the General Assembly, signed the RELIEF Act of 2021 into law on Monday. The package of measures was put together in under three weeks and passed through both chambers with near unanimous support. The newly signed $1-plus billion legislation includes money that will be directly sent to low-income taxpayers and sweeping tax relief for small businesses.  

The RELIEF Act provides $500 for low-income families and $300 for individuals who filed for the earned income tax credit in 2019. The funds will be available for the next three years in the form of tax refunds. The bill also offers $1,000 to people with unsettled unemployment claims. 

The bill allows small business to keep up to $3,000 in sales tax they collect for up to three months. Employers who laid people off during the pandemic will not have to pay increased unemployment insurance taxes.

"Maryland, once again, has shown the nation that both parties can still come together, that we can still put the people's priorities first and that we can deliver real bipartisan, commonsense solutions to the serious problems that face us," Hogan said.

Can new covid-19 relief bill save restaurants 

A bill to specifically help the hospitality industry was left out of the coronavirus relief bill in December. The Restaurants Act would have provided $120 billion in grants for independent restaurants. The $900 billion package did offer another round of PPP forgivable loans with the rules on what they spend that money on being looser. 

In the new round of stimulus moving its way through Congress, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is advocating for $25 billion in aid specifically for restaurants to be included.  

At the start of the program, grants will be prioritized for businesses owned by veterans or women. As well, economically and socially disadvantaged businesses would receive priority during the first few weeks.

Expanded unemployment benefits in covid-19 relief bill

Democrats want to increase the federal unemployment supplement to $400 and extend it through September as part of their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Read the full story:

Who's been pushing for stimulus checks over $1,400?

These days it's easy to be confused about who's backing what in the world of stimulus checks. Here's a breakdown of where key players stand.

Read the full story:

Case for stimulus funds for states and local governments 

According to a Washington Post analysis of government data, state and local governments have shed 1.3 million jobs since the pandemic began last year. That represents a loss of more than 1 in 20 government jobs due to deep budget shortfalls. The toll has been felt in both Republican-led states and Democratic-led ones. 

Congressional Democrats are trying to swiftly push through a covid-19 relief bill that includes funds to rescue struggling state and local governments. Currently $350 billion in aid has been set aside in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus legislation based on the framework of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.  

Republicans oppose the idea, calling it a “blue state bailout” that would reward poor local financial management. Biden and the Democrats in part went forward without Republicans because their own $600 billion proposal did not include funds to shore up state and local governments. The GOP plan also proposed a smaller $1000 stimulus check with a tighter income eligibility ceiling.

Biden can now focus attention on his agenda 

Now that the Trump impeachment is in the review mirror President Biden wants Congress to get to work on his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan along with the rest of his expansive agenda. Although the Democrats will forgo the need for any GOP votes to push the coronavirus relief package through Congress, including the $1400 stimulus check, the White House will need Republican lawmakers’ support for other priorities. 

In the coming months President Biden plans to tackle infrastructure, immigration, criminal justice reform, climate change and health care. The president’s agenda is broadly popular according to polling, even among some Republicans. Recently Biden met with a bipartisan group of mayors and governors who are pushing for Congress to act on sending out more coronavirus relief. 

Biden will go on his first trip outside Washington as president this week, with his first stop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Tuesday. There he will participate in a town hall in a CNN town-hall-style event where he is "looking forward" to sharing his vision. 

 

Covid-19 relief, more than a $1400 stimulus check 

Democrats have been rushing forward with Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue legislation, in part due to a pressing deadline, but also they have a unified goal, fighting inequality. Less-familiar provisions in the package could have a larger long-term impact on income disparities by expanding health insurance subsidies, sending advance child tax credit checks to parents, cover child care costs allowing parents to return to work. 

These measures would help drastically reduce childhood poverty and the number of people without access to health insurance. A trickier issue will be whether they can raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. Although doing so could help reduce reliance on programs that are being expanded in the bill, it will have to pass muster with the Senate parliamentarian as to whether it truly a budgetary concern.

CNN questions if Joe Biden's proposed stimulus checks are best way to fix the economy

CNN questions if Joe Biden's proposed stimulus checks are best way to fix the economy

In an article in which the network seems to be turning on the President, perhaps to stoke controversy and raise ratings, it posits that Biden's $1.9tn stimulus plan isn't the best way to fix what the pandemic has broken. 

"The most expensive provision in Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion economic recovery plan is his proposal to send an additional $1,400 to most Americans. According to many economists, that's the least effective way to help revive the economy.

"The added stimulus is born out of widespread support among Congressional Democrats, and many Republicans, including outgoing President Donald Trump, to increase the direct stimulus checks from the most recent covid-19 economic relief package from $600 to $2,000.

""Six hundred dollars is simply not enough if you still have to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table," Biden said when unveiling his economic recovery plan. "Even for those who have kept their jobs, these checks are really important.""

Senate is in recess so a third stimulus check is on pause..

...and vaccine efforts are also being put on pause, but not on purpose. ABS News reports that a shortage in the supply of covid-19 vaccination doses has prompted health officials in San Francisco to temporarily close two mass inoculation sites, authorities said.

Mary Ellen Carroll, executive director of the San Francisco's Department of Emergency Management, said mass vaccination sites at the city's Moscone Center convention hall complex and one at San Francisco City College have been put on pause.

"We've made progress and it really is hard to pause operations. None of us want to do it but it is temporary, we know we will get more vaccine, and it does appear to be a supply chain production issue," Carroll told ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco.

Hunger crisis: stimulus checks needed desperately in many parts of America

Hunger crisis: stimulus checks needed desperately in many parts of America

There's been much debate lately on whether they should be seen as "stimulus" checks or "survival" checks. For many they're about surviving.

In this photo, workers load boxes of groceries into a vehicle at a mobile food distribution from the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank at the Hollywood Bowl during the covid-19 pandemic on February 5, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has distributed 168 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 137 million meals, since March 2020.

Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP

Where can I donate my stimulus check?

Where can I donate my stimulus check?

GoFundMe have created a helpful list of ideas for where to donate your first, second and soon to be third stimulus check, if you happen to be fortunate enough to not need the cash.

Included are specific ways to donate to small businesses, artists, restaurants and more.

American Rescue Plan: who will be eligible for child tax credit?

President Biden's American Rescue Plan includes $1.9 trillion to provide economic support and up to $1400 stimulus checks but the federal funding with regards to child tax credit will not be available to everyone and entitlement depends on a number of factors.

Read the full story:

As stimulus check negotiations are paused and vaccine rollout slows, proof emerges that masks work

In a recent study of a group of "tech thinkers", up to and sometimes over 50% of non-mask wearers ended up contracting covid-19 when exposed, while not a single person in the mask-wearing group caught the virus.

Information shared on Twitter by Epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding.

When will Senate be out of recess and able to pass stimulus check bill?

When will Senate be out of recess and able to pass stimulus check bill?

Movement in the upper chamber on Biden's coronavirus rescue plan is now on hold, meaning so is stimulus check approval. The Senate is due to come back into session on Monday 22 February.

How to file an amended federal tax return by April 2021

If you discover that some of the information on your tax return is inaccurate, you will have to file an amended form 1040-X – ideally, before the tax deadline date.

Your 2021 tax return could affect your third stimulus check amount, and you can claim your stimulus through a tool on the tax return called Recovery Rebate.

When could the third stimulus check arrive?

A repeat of the nine-month deadlock we saw in 2020 between the first and second stimulus checks seems very unlikely. Here's a look at when Americans can expect a third direct payment to arrive:

How your 2020 tax return will affect your stimulus check: further info

Here's more on the importance of Americans' 2020 tax returns in deciding their entitlement to a third stimulus check:

2020 tax return: what's the minimum income required to file taxes?

Not only will filing taxes before a third stimulus check is approved potentially help Americans get a bigger direct payment (see post below), but people who qualified for the second check but didn't receive it can use their 2020 return to claim that money, too.

The IRS began accepting 2020 income tax returns on 12 February, with 15 April the final deadline for submission. Here, in case you're wondering whether or not you're required to file taxes, is a guide on the minimum income limits above which US taxpayers must complete a tax return:

 

Filing tax return ASAP may help Americans get bigger stimulus check

US taxpayers whose income went down last year - a state of affairs likely to apply to many people - should get their 2020 tax returns in as soon as possible to ensure they qualify for as big a stimulus check as possible.

A third round of stimulus checks is widely expected to be approved at some point in March, with the IRS set to use the most recent income information it has on Americans to determine whether they qualify for a check and, if so, how large a payment.

Many people will therefore be better-placed to get more if the IRS has received their 2020 tax return before then. US taxpayers have until 15 April to submit their return.

"It's more likely that someone's income went down in 2020 and that filing sooner would then help them qualify for more money," Eric Bronnenkant of the financial company Betterment, told CBS News.

This is particularly true given the uncertainty over whether or not there will be changes to the income thresholds that determine people’s eligibility for a stimulus check, with some lawmakers calling for the earnings caps to be lowered.

Will there be a fourth stimulus check?

A third stimulus check is edging closer - but what’s the outlook for a fourth direct payment?

Full details:

Wyden: Absolutely unacceptable not to have another stimulus bill before mid-March

Sen. Ron Wyden put forward his argument for universal $1,400 stimulus payments for those earning less than $100,000 per year. He told Yahoo Finance, “People who got the first two checks are expecting a third. And the fact is, the pandemic has hit these families like a wrecking ball. They're just balancing the food bill against the fuel bill, and the fuel bill against the rent bill. We're going to have a pretty vigorous debate all the way through the process.”

Stimulus bill needs to be passed for schools to reopen, says Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci insists that a comprehensive new stimulus bill needed to be passed in order for US schools to safely reopen. “I think that the schools really do need more resources and that's the reason why the national relief act that we're talking about getting passed, we need that. The schools need more resources,” Dr. Fauci told ABC News This Week programme. "It's really important to get the children back to school in a safest way as possible".

"$600 will not change your life" - Dave Ramsey

Personal finance advisor and radio show host Dave Ramsey ruffled a few feathers will his comments on stimulus checks which he says he is strongly against. Ramsey's comments ignited a frenzied response on Twitter and he was forced to explain what he meant. 

"If you really believe $600 is going to change your life, you're an idiot!" he said. "I mean I've been broke, and I never even then thought $600 would change my life, back when $600 was a lot of money!  My point is that they're lying to you, they're not really helping you. You already had major structural crap in your life, you're struggling with mental illness, you've struggling with a career problem, you're struggling with a work ethic problem, with character issues. The point is you're looking to government to fix your life and as long as you wait on Washington, DC, to save your life, you're gonna suck, your life is gonna suck!"

Stimulus package linked to school reopening

Yesterday, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized the need for masking and other mitigation measures in order to reopen schools safely, saying "we have work to do" as teachers, students and parents continue to struggle with covid-19's impact on education.

Dr Rochelle Walensky spoke to CNN's Jake Tapper following Dr Fauci's comments, with Biden's stimulus relief package, and the financial support that it will give families struggling with home schooling among other pressures, in clear alignment.

Stimulus for students

As we have covered in-depth, much of the relief package focuses on providing immediate financial relief, through the form of unemployment benefits and stimulus checks. The latter was a prominent feature of previous bills and Biden has reaffirmed his commitment to a round of $1,400 payments.

However it seems that the eligibility requirements may well be different for this wave of payments, with Biden looking to open them up to more Americans. For the first time, adult dependents will be able to receive the stimulus checks, broadening eligibility to an estimated 13.5 million college students.

Will Gittins reports on how the new bill could affect those still dealing with their studies.

Income inequality targeted in stimulus rescue package

No wonder congressional Democrats remain so united behind President Joe Biden'snew administration: Quietly but quickly, they are taking major strides toward their shared goal of curbing economic inequality. 

The $1,400 relief checks in Biden's coronavirus rescue legislation have dominated the headlines. But less-familiar provisions in the giant $1.9 trillion package could have a larger long-term impact on the disparities of income and wealth that have animated Democratic politics for decades.

John Harwood looks into the balancing act.

Stimulus package optimism puts dollar on back foot

The safe haven dollar started the week pinned near two-week lows on Monday, as optimism about covid-19 vaccine rollouts and a planned $1.9 trillion US stimulus package drove up riskier currencies and stock markets across Europe and Asia.

Among the gainers versus the weaker greenback, the British pound broke $1.39 for the first time in nearly three years while commodity currencies strengthened, including the South African rand which hit a fresh one-year high.

The improved risk appetite was also reflected in equities, with European indexes rising after Japanese stocks surged to a more than 30-year high earlier in the day.

Many financial markets in Asia remained closed on Monday for Lunar New Year, while US stock markets will be shut for Presidents Day.

"People who got the first two checks are expecting a third. And the fact is, the pandemic has hit these families like a wrecking ball. They're just balancing the food bill against the fuel bill, and the fuel bill against the rent bill...

“We're going to have a pretty vigorous debate all the way through the process.”

Sen. Ron Wyden, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee

Pelosi highlights ongoing relief work

Despite Congress taking its officially planned break, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tweeted out that her Democratic party has 'never paused' as they look to get more money into American pockets.

"The president is looking forward to getting out in the country, engaging with people about his plans to get relief, direct checks into their hands and expedite vaccine distribution and reopen schools."

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary on Joe Biden's upcoming visits

Stimulus focus on Biden's inaugural trip

On Sunday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that President Joe Biden is "looking forward" to discussing plans for his $1,400 stimulus checks with Americans as he readies to hit the road this coming week for his first official trip as president.

Congress is in recess until 22 February but Biden plans to step outside of Washington D.C. to visit Americans, starting with a CNN town hall in Wisconsin on Tuesday night.

We'll be keeping you fully up-to-date with everything important said at the town hall.

Congress recess delays stimulus approval

As pointed out by Fox Business, following the conclusion of former president Donald Trump's impeachment trial, the House and Senate are schedule to take a short recess this week.

This break will delay Congress' effort to deliver a third round of stimulus checks and other much-needed relief to the American people.

That said, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told reporters that she hopes the relief package will be approved "by the end of February so we can send it to the president’s desk before unemployment benefits expire” on 14 March.

This still feels a long way away for those hardest hit by the pandemic.

Where are Biden's stimulus checks? they ask

Despite ongoing talks and a desire, at least initially, to obtain bipartisan agreement on the stimulus relief package, critics are quick to point to the words used by President Biden during the Senate run-off election in Georgia.

As an additional encouragement to voters who may have been sitting on the fence - either to vote Democrat or not turn out at all - Biden said that getting both Warnock and Ossoff elected would end the block and get stimulus checks out immediately.

Clearly this has not yet happened but suggestions are that the mechanics in Congress are going to get them out very soon. At that point it'll be interesting to see if the president argues that a few weeks to get a multi-billion bill signed into law is the equivalent of 'immediate'...

Sanders thanks the Progressives

Overnight, Democrat Bernie Sanders took to Twitter to thank the Progressive Caucus for the work they have done thus far to secure various benefits via the new bill including:

- increasing stimulus checks to $2,000

- raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour

- cutting childhood poverty in half

- extending unemployment benefits

Of course, this bill is still not on Joe Biden's desk for a signature...but it feels like it is getting much closer.

Stimulus funds funeral expenses

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Monday that families of coronavirus victims can soon apply to have funeral expenses paid for through a fund through FEMA.

In the last stimulus bill signed into law in December, $2 billion were earmarked to pay for funeral expenses. The money was placed in the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund.

Read more on the statement released by FEMA.

Stimulus check for bill cover

With the report out that a $1,400 stimulus check will allow 22.6 million Americans to pay their bills in full through mid-July, some are pointing out on social media that this would not be the case for them.

There is clearly a difference between those that have financial means at the moment and those that are truly struggling.

Biden's stimulus package to provide huge boost for poorest Americans

New analysis shows that the $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposed by President Joe Biden would deliver significant financial assistance to the poorest US households.

The $1,400 stimulus check, added to the expansion of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit would provide a 33% boost to the pre-tax incomes of the poorest 20% of Americans - or a $3,590 hike per family - according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

The lowest-earning households are more likely to spend that money quickly, providing a boost to the economy while stabilizing their own households, ITEP director of federal tax policy Steve Wamhoff told CBS MoneyWatch.

Read more:

When to expect a third stimulus check

Talks on a third bipartisan deal came to an end after a group of 10 Republican lawmakers proposed a targeted bill of just $600bn, which was a non-starter.

With a bipartisan deal off the table, and a 60-vote majority necessary to pass the bill normally, Democrats opted to use a process called “budget reconciliation.” For this type of bill, passing a budget resolution allows Democrats to pass a bill with a simple majority of 51, in other words without the support of the GOP.

If all goes swimmingly with negotiations and a version of the bill with stimulus checks passes through Congress, there are two possible timelines, both following the assumption that the 14 March deadline that Pelosi imposed can be met, after which some existing pandemic benefits will expire.

We dig into how this could pan out:

Stimulus bill required before schools reopen, says Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said on Sunday that a stimulus bill needed to be passed in order for schools to safely reopen.

While appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Fauci spoke with host George Stephanopoulos about how schools could safely reopen, expanding on new guidelines that were recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“It's the first time that it’s been put down in a document based on scientific observations and data over the last several months to a year, both in the United States and elsewhere. Part of that is to indicate and to suggest strongly that a preference be given to teachers to get vaccinated,” Fauci said, though he added it was possible to reopen schools without having all teachers vaccinated beforehand.

When asked by Stephanopoulos if schools had the resources available to abide by the new CDC guidelines, Fauci said he did not believe so.

“I think that the schools really do need more resources and that's the reason why the national relief act that we're talking about getting passed — we need that. The schools need more resources.”

House committees have begun marking up portions of President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, and Democrats have vowed to pass a final bill into law by early next month.

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Could your third stimulus payment possibly arrive faster than the last one? 

There may be a few things you can do to help speed up receipt of a third payment, assuming it happens, according to Cnet

Signing up for direct deposit in your 2020 tax return would put you in the priority category for a third stimulus payment. 

And if you've moved recently, tell the IRS and USPS.

Note that there could be some changes to qualifications that may not apply to a possible third stimulus check.

Stimulus check via the IRS free tool

If you haven't yet received your second stimulus check, or haven't received the full amount, you may be able to claim it through your 2020 federal tax return and the Recovery Rebate Credit tool. 

IRS' Free File tool allows you to prepare and file your federal income tax return for free. 

Stimulus check resolution: the Democrat plan

Despite the hectic scenes in the Capitol in recent days as the former President stood trial for incitement of insurrection, President Biden's team have been working to pass the American Rescue Plan which he first proposed in early January. The $1.9 trillion package includes another round of stimulus checks, a boost for unemployment benefits and makes a sizeable increase in the child tax credit provision. 

"There's more Democratic unity than ever on taking bold steps on an economic dignity compact," said Gene Sperling, author of a book on the party after working for both previous Democratic presidents. "(It's) possible for 2021 to be one of the greatest years of progressive accomplishment in the past century."

Do you need to file a tax return?

It's that time of the year again, but tax season 2021 will be unlike any other with stimulus checks, additional unemployment benefits and all sorts of federal programmes to consider this time around. But not everyone is obliged to file with the IRS, with some low income earners not expected to pay tax on the previous year's earnings. 

Although the new stimulus bill has not yet been agreed, your tax return could well be used to calculate the amount of stimulus check and child tax credits that you and your family are eligible for.

To find out if you need to file a tax return this year, check out our guide:

Child tax credit distribution issues predicted

One of the key components of Biden's American Rescue Plan is a significant expansion of the child tax credit provision which would see parents able to claim up to $3,600 a year. The support would be distributed as monthly payments similar, to the stimulus checks, worth up to $300 for children aged under six and $250 for those between six and 17. 

However there are certain criteria based on income, household situation and custody status which can affect the entitlement, which may be out of date by the time the money is distributed.

The Washington Post expects some to miss out on the vital support because their situation has changed since they last filed their taxes. Those who have only suffered a loss of income recently may be unable to receive the money they need.

Check the status of your stimulus check payment with IRS online

The two previous round of stimulus checks have been a vital lifeline for millions all across the country but some have unfortunately fallen through the cracks as the IRS attempted to get over 160 million payments distributed. As we wait for confirmation that the American Rescue Plan has been passed and another round is on the way, it is not too late to check on previous payments. 

Those who have wrongly missed out in the past can apply to receive the same amount as a tax credit on their upcoming tax returns, meaning they can receive up to $1,800 for missing payments. You can do this and check the status of previous stimulus checks, through the IRS' online portal.

Full details:

"Here’s what I won’t do: I’m not cutting the size of the [stimulus] checks.  They’re going to be $1,400.  Period.  That’s what the American people were promised."

Joe Biden, POTUS

US stimulus check: live updates

Hello and welcome to our daily live blog bringing you updates on the progress being made in attempts to pass President Joe Biden's $1.9tn American Resuce Plan.

Among other measures his package includes the issuing of stimulus checks of up to $1,400 to each American.

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