AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT OF 2021

Third stimulus check: when is it coming in March?

The Senate prepares to debate President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan this week expected to pass by Friday, but when could stimulus checks be sent?

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Third stimulus check: when is it coming in March?
SAMUEL CORUM AFP

On Saturday the House passed the $1.9 trillion covid-relief package, including $1,400 stimulus checks for a third round of Economic Impact Payments. The bill will now be taken up in the Senate for consideration where changes to the legislation are expected.

Democrats and their allies hope for quick passage of the sweeping package to get the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to President Joe Biden’s desk before 14 March. However deliberations over certain parts of the legislation could drag out the timeline, Democrats must keep all 50 votes in their caucus with no Republicans expected to approve the bill. After amendments are added, it is expected that the bill will come up for a final vote in the upper chamber sometime Friday morning.

When the bill passes the Senate, what’s next?

A revised bill would then head back to the lower chamber. Once there, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will need to keep the party focused on passing the bill with progressives already making noises about including a minimum wage hike. The provision was left in the House version passed on Saturday despite the Senate parliamentarian ruling that the measure didn’t meet reconciliation requirements.

However, the minimum wage was stripped out of the bill over the weekend before the Senate could consider it despite having passed in the House. Democrats are no longer considering a Plan B of either bypassing the parliamentarian’s ruling or penalizing companies that pay less than $15 per hour with a tax provision. Biden has said that he would respect the parliamentarian’s decision and work with Congress “to determine the best path forward.”

When will the third stimulus check be sent?

Once the bill gets the final okay from Congress, up on receiving it, Biden is expected to sign the bill. The stated goal has been to pass the bill before 14 March with Democrats expressing confidence that this will happen. Then it will be up to the IRS to start sending out the $1,400 payments to eligible Americans.

The disbursement process was much smoother for the second round of direct payments of $600 that were sent out beginning at the end of December. Now that the IRS has details on file for the vast majority of recipients, the same can be expected of the third round.

Concerns still remain though about the workload the IRS is under right now with tax filing season in full swing. The agency may be too swamped with tax returns, to handle processing those and sending out the stimulus checks at the same time.

Payment type will determine when stimulus checks are received

Although there is no exact date for the moment when the payments will start to go out, it will most likely follow the method of the previous payments. Different groups will receive their stimulus payments at different times based on how they receive the payment.

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.