CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Third stimulus check: Will you get a $1,400 payment, and when?

As Congress prepares to pass President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan the new direct payments could soon be in your bank account, but who is eligible for the $1,400 of financial relief?

Third stimulus check: Will you get a $1,400 payment, and when?
SAUL LOEB AFP

House Democrats are hopefully of passing President Joe Biden’s covid-19 economic relief bill this week, paving the way for a third stimulus check in mid-March.

The package, known as the American Rescue Plan, includes a significant extension to the additional unemployment benefits provision and greater support for small businesses, but for many it is the $1,400 stimulus checks that will be the most valuable in the short-term.

On Tuesday the House Budget Committee approved the $1.9 trillion of federal funding that the bill requires, which will allow the Democrats to use a mechanism known as reconciliation to push the proposal through the Senate. The House is expected to vote on the bill later this week and it will then move to Senate chamber.

Who will get a $1,400 stimulus check?

The American Rescue Plan includes funding for another federal stimulus check, the third since the pandemic took hold nearly 12 months ago. The amount of offer is $1,400, which the White House have billed as a ‘top up’ payment, to bump the $600 payment from January up to $2,000.

This is the largest stimulus check to date but it seems that the eligibility requirements will be largely the same as previous rounds. The bill tabled by House Democrats earlier this week sets the income threshold for eligibility at $75,000 for individuals, or $150,000 for couples who file jointly.

If you earn above these limits you may still be able to receive a stimulus check, but not the full $1,400. The funding gradually phases out above those thresholds, ending at $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for couples.

One change that has been made, however, is a broadening of eligibility to allow adult dependents to receive a stimulus check for the first time. In the past anyone over the age of 17 who was claimed on another’s tax return was not able to receive a payments. This saw around 13.5 million college students, disabled adults and some older Americans excluded from the support.

When will the third stimulus check be sent out?

The Democrats hope that by utilising reconciliation they will be able to bypass a lot of the uncertainty and potential delay in Congress. They have set a target of 14 March to have the bill signed into law, but assuming that all members follow the party line (all Democrats vote in favour of the bill) it could be passed before then.

The focus will then switch to the distribution effort, which comes at a particularly busy time for the IRS. Not only are they in charge of administering and sending all stimulus check payments, but they also oversee the tax return process which began on 12 February.

This could cause a delay in comparison to the previous round of stimulus checks as they attempt to administrate both the tax system and stimulus check distribution at the same time.

While we don’t yet know exactly when the distribution will start, we do know that the process is likely to follow the same staggered timeframe as previous rounds. This is due to the different payment methods used to get the money to different groups

Those who receive their stimulus check in the form of a direct deposit will get their first, possible within a week of the American Rescue Plan being signed into law.

Next will come the paper checks which, because they require the physical checks to be produced and sent out in the mail, will probably take around a week longer than the direct deposits.

Finally those who do not have access to a bank account will be sent an Economic Impact Payment debit card in the post. This pre-paid bank card can be used in shops and online, but because of the extra time needed to produce the cards will take longer to arrive. Recipients should expect these around three weeks after the stimulus bill is passed.