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Third stimulus check: differences and similarities with the other two payments

The American Rescue Plan will provide stimulus checks worth up to $1,400. How does this compare to the economic relief offered by the Trump administration?

The American Rescue Plan will provide stimulus checks worth up to $1,400. How does this compare to the economic relief offered by the Trump administration?

Later this week the House of Representatives is expected to pass President Joe Biden American Rescue Plan, the first large-scale stimulus bill of his presidency. The ambitious package includes $1.9 trillion of federal funding, which Biden hopes will provide for those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic and will help to boost the economy.

Upon announcing the American Rescue Plan, Biden said: “I see enormous pain this country. A lot of folks out of work. A lot of folks going hungry, staring at the ceiling at night wondering, ‘What am I going to do tomorrow?’”

Key to that effort is a third round of stimulus check payments, which Biden hopes will provide the short-term boost that millions of struggling Americans desperately need. Here’s how those payments compare to previous rounds of support.

How much is this stimulus check worth compared to others?

The first and second rounds of stimulus check payments were worth up to $1,200 and $600 respectively. While campaigning in Georgia for the Senate runoff election, President-elect Biden said that he would be able to pass stimulus checks worth $2,000 if the Democratic candidate were successful and his party took control of the Senate.

The Democrats duly won both races, but when Biden came to announce his American Rescue Plan in January the amount offered in the third stimulus check was $1,400.

The White House has billed this as a ‘top-up’ payment to the $600 stimulus checks that were sent out in early January by the Trump administration, but many are unhappy that the support appears to have decreased.

Despite that, this will be the most generous stimulus check to date, with a family of four receiving up to $5,600 as a direct payment.

Eligibility requirements widened slightly for third stimulus check

As the stimulus bill works its way through Congress, we are not sure exactly who will be able to receive the $1,400 direct payments. As it stands, it appears that the income threshold will remain the same: up to $75,000 for individual filers and $150,000 for couples who file jointly.

However one key change will see adult dependents able to receive stimulus checks for the first time, although the actual money will be sent to the filer who claims them as a dependent.

In the past 13.5 million college students, disabled Americans and the elderly were disqualified from getting a stimulus payment.

IRS will attempt to distribution checks during tax season

It is nearly a full year since the first round of stimulus checks was agreed, which also came in the middle of tax season. Both the tax system and the distribution of stimulus checks are overseen by the IRS, giving the agency a very heavy workload.

Last year the IRS decided to extend the tax return deadline to ease the pressure and allow more time to get the filing completed. However this time around they have refused to do so, insisting that they can handle both at the same time.

The second round of stimulus checks was distributed much quicker than the first because the IRS already had a system in place to get the money out to 160 million Americans. There are concerns that attempting to send the third stimulus checks while administrating the tax return system could lead to delays for the direct payments.