The Senate has passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, helping to clear the way for millions of Americans to potentially receive $1,400 stimulus checks.
But the new checks won’t be official until the House of Representatives and President Joe Biden give their final approval, which is expected to happen this week.
The proposed new direct payments are aimed at bringing the total money recently sent to Americans to $2,000, in keeping with a sum Biden has promised Americans.
“This plan will get checks out the door starting this month to the Americans that so desperately need the help,” Biden said on Saturday in response to the Senate’s action.
Here’s the latest on what we know about those payments.
Who will be eligible for $1,400 checks
Full $1,400 payments are slated to go to those with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.
As with previous stimulus checks, the payments are reduced for those with income above those thresholds.
This time, however, the Senate has called to lower the income levels at which the payments get phased to zero.
Under those terms, the payments will be capped for individuals earning $80,000 in income, heads of household with $120,000 and married couples with $160,000.
Estimates indicate that change could make it so up to 12 million fewer adults may receive the stimulus money.
Another notable change is that dependents of all ages stand to be eligible for the payments. Previous checks have only includes those under 17.
How soon the $1,400 payments could go out
Stimulus checks printed at the Philadelphia Financial Center in Philadelphia.
Jeff Fusco | Getty Images
Biden said this week that the stimulus checks should start to go out to millions of Americans this month.
That’s in line with experts’ expectations.
Those who will be first in line to get the money will be those who have their direct deposit bank account information already on file with the IRS.
Those people could receive their money within two weeks of the legislation getting finalized.
Other mailed debit card and paper check payments would likely arrive later, potentially into April and May.
What to do if you’re still waiting on past checks
Many readers have written in because they are still waiting on the $600 stimulus checks authorized back in December and, in some cases, never received the $1,200 first payments sent out last spring.
The good news is that the money is still available, in the form of a tax credit. But you have to file a tax return in order to claim it. That goes even if you typically do not file because you have little to no income.
People with $72,000 or less in adjusted gross income can use the IRS Free File, which will let you file your federal income tax return for free online.
If your income is more than $72,000, the IRS has free file fillable forms available.
If you have no taxable income, but are looking to file to claim your stimulus check money through the recovery rebate credit, the IRS recommends visiting its web page for information free filing and tools.