CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Third stimulus check: How many people will receive the payment?

The American Rescue Plan provides direct payments worth up to $1,400, but after changing the eligibility requirements will fewer people get the support?

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Third stimulus check: How many people will receive the payment?
SAUL LOEB AFP

The third round of Economic Impact Payments, more commonly known as stimulus checks, was a key feature of the $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill that passed earlier this month.

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law on 11 March and the $1,400 stimulus checks began distribution in the following days, part of a huge national effort coming as the IRS were also attempting to oversee a busy tax season.

The bill will provide stimulus checks to an estimated 158.5 million Americans, with President Biden eager to get them out to those in need as swiftly as possible after taking weeks for the proposal to clear Congress.

Eligibility changes altered the number of stimulus check payments

Biden had initially hoped to widen the eligibility requirements for the first major stimulus bill of his presidency and his proposal added another large group to the list of recipients.

For the first time adult dependents were able to get a stimulus check, a group that comprised millions of adult dependents, elderly relatives and disabled Americans. The it is thought that around 26 million people who are claimed as adult dependents on someone else’s tax returns will get the direct support for the first time, although the extra money will be added to the filer’s stimulus check entitlement.

This was a major change and added tens of billions of dollars to the total cost of the stimulus check provision, so much so that some Democratic lawmakers voiced concerned that the proposal was too expensive.

To ensure that he had the Senate votes needed to pass the bill, Biden made compromises to the stimulus check eligibility and lowered the upper income threshold. Individuals earning more than $80,000 or couples who earn more than $160,000 would no longer be entitled to a stimulus check, with estimates suggesting around 12 million fewer people will get a stimulus check.

How many stimulus checks have been sent out so far?

The Biden administration faces a race against time to get the vital payments out to those in need as quickly as possible, but are not helped by the timing. The IRS, who oversee the distribution, are in the middle of processing individuals’ tax returns and are tasked with setting up the new Child Tax Credit programme also included in the stimulus bill.

Despite the busy schedule the Treasury Department and the IRS confirmed on Thursday that they have already sent roughly 127 million stimulus checks, at a total cost of around $325 billion.

The vast majority of those sent so far were made by direct deposit, by far the quickest method of distribution, and the IRS will now move onto the paper stimulus checks and Economic Impact Payment debit cards.

However one more batch of direct deposits is expected to arrive in the coming days after the Social Security Administration (SSA) finally handed over the details of around 30 million Social Security recipients to the IRS, clearing the way for them to get their money.

In a statement released on Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee insisted that the process be completed as swiftly as possible, saying: “Now the IRS needs to do its job and get these overdue payments out to suffering Americans. Further delays will not be tolerated by this committee.”