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Third stimulus check requirements and eligibility: who is getting the payment?

The $1,400 direct payments have a different income threshold to previous rounds, which could see around 12 million Americans miss out on the federal funds.

The $1,400 direct payments have a different income threshold to previous rounds, which could see around 12 million Americans miss out on the federal funds.

The third stimulus check was officially confirmed earlier today as President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law.

The latest direct payments from the federal government were promised by the Democrats in the build up to the Georgia Senate runoff races in early January but congressional wrangling in Washington has prevented the bill being passed until now.

In the course of those negotiations some elements of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package were altered to ensure the bill had enough votes to be passed. There were changes made to the unemployment benefits provisions, multi-billion dollar projects were scrapped and the income threshold for the long-awaited stimulus checks was altered.

Senate opposition forces Democrats to change stimulus check eligibility

Back in January Biden unveiled the American Rescue Plan, complete with $1,400 stimulus checks to ‘top up’ the $600 distributed earlier that month. The Democrats wield unified power in Washington, holding both Houses of Congress as well as the White House.

However not all in the Party were willing to support such a costly stimulus bill and when the legislation reached the Senate some compromise was needed to keep the moderate Democrats on side. Their slender advantage and the Republicans’ refusal to support the bill meant that Biden could not afford even a single dissention from his senators.

During the Senate discussion Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine outlined their opposition to "upper income citizens" receiving the third round of stimulus checks.

New income thresholds for third stimulus check

The main qualifying factor for the direct payments is your adjusted gross income (AGI), which is essentially your annual income before tax. Lawmakers wanted to ensure that this round of payment is more targeted than previous rounds so have lowered the top threshold for eligibility.

As was the case with previous rounds, individuals with an AGI of less than $75,000, couples making less than $150,000, or heads of households earning less than $112,500 will receive the full amount. Their children and adult dependents will also be eligible for the full $1,400 per person.

However the new restrictions kick in for those earning above those levels. The entitlement still phases out above those thresholds but does so much more abruptly under the new regulations. Individuals earning more than $80,000, couples making more than $160,000 and heads of households earning above $120,000 will no longer receive any stimulus check money.

For all of the latest updates on the stimulus check payments as they go out, follow our dedicated live feed.


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