Will the 3rd stimulus check be sent out before March?
With direct payments of $1,400 lined up in President Biden's American Rescue Plan, and a vote expected to approve them, when can you expect them to be sent?
The full details of the latest stimulus bill were announced at the end of last week, which House Democrats plan to officially table on Monday 22 February. The 591-page proposal comprises federal funding amounting to around $1.9 trillion and this includes the long-awaited third round of stimulus checks, this time valued at up to $1,400 per eligible American.
It is almost a year since the first round of stimulus payments of $1,200 were issued as part of the CARES Act, which arrived as it was clear the covid-19 pandemic was going to have devastating effects on the US economy, and this was followed at the beginning of 2021 with checks of the value of $600 as political parties hotly debated their value to needy citizens. As well as an increased amount, this time around will also see eligibility requirements widened to include adult dependents.
New stimulus relief bill to be debated in Congress
On Monday House Democrats are expected to introduce the American Rescue Plan into the chamber, so members can debate and discuss the bill as it stands. There may well be some minor amendments requested by lawmakers but given the partisan split in Washington it seems likely that it will remain fairly intact.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she was aiming for a vote in the Democratic-controller chamber on passing the bill - a top priority of the new Democratic Biden administration - by the end of the week.
Earlier on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a fellow Democrat, said his deeply divided chamber will pass the bill before 14 March, when the latest round of federal unemployment benefits expire.
While Schumer said he welcomed "constructive amendments" by Republicans, he added in a letter to rank-and-file Democrats:
"Make no mistake: the era of Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard is over."
When will the third stimulus check be sent?
The distribution process improved dramatically for the second round of stimulus checks and it is fair to assume that the third round will also be fairly swift now that the IRS has details on file for the vast majority of recipients.
However there are some concerns that the IRS may be too overburdened with tax returns at the moment, given that tax season 2021 has just begun. The deadline to file your tax returns is not until 15 April so the IRS will almost certainly be attempting to administrate both the tax system and stimulus check distribution at the same time.
Whatever the exact dates are it is fair to assume that different groups will receive their stimulus check payments at different times, purely because of the differing speeds of each method.
As was the case in previous rounds of payment the direct deposits will be the first to arrive, which could arrive the week after the bill is signed into law by President Joe Biden.
The second to arrive will be the paper checks, which are sent to those who have bank accounts but the details are not on file with the IRS. These physical stimulus checks will likely arrive around two weeks after the bill is signed into law.
The final payments to be made will be those requiring an Economic Impact Payment debit card to be produced and delivered. These are used for Americans who do not have access to a bank account so they are given a pre-paid bank card instead. Given the extra time needed to produce the cards, they will arrive around three weeks after the stimulus bill is passed.