Congress is expected to approve another round of stimulus checks to most Americans in March -- here’s what you need to know.
The Senate approved a sweeping pandemic relief package over Republican opposition on Saturday, moving President Joe Biden closer to a milestone political victory that would provide $1,400 checks for most Americans and direct billions of dollars to schools, state and local governments, and businesses.
The bill cleared by a party-line vote of 50-49 after a marathon overnight voting session and now heads back to the House for final passage, which is expected by the end of this week at the latest.
Who is eligible for $1,400 stimulus payment?
The legislation provides a direct payment of $1,400 for a single taxpayer, or $2,800 for a married couple that files jointly, plus $1,400 per dependent. Individuals earning up to $75,000 would get the full amount, as would married couples with incomes up to $150,000.
The size of the check would shrink for those making slightly more, with a hard cut-off at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples.
Most Americans will be getting the full amount. The median household income was $68,703 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Income is based on your 2020 tax filing, or if you haven’t filed yet, your 2019 taxes. (AGI)
When could Americans start seeing payments?
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had stated a goal of getting the legislation to Joe Biden’s desk by March 14. The bill now heads back to the House for a vote expected on Tuesday or Wednesday, and then it’ll be sent to Biden’s desk, where he could sign by the end of the week.
Based on the IRS timeframe from the last round of payments, payments could begin within a few days of passage. So if the bill were signed by the end of next week (March 12), payments should begin by March 15 or so. The IRS has not confirmed a timeline and won’t until the legislation is signed into law.
You will receive payments quicker if you’re set up for direct deposit with the IRS. Checks would likely be issued a few days later.
Expanded unemployment benefits from the federal government would be extended through Sept. 6 at $300 a week. That’s on top of what beneficiaries are getting through their state unemployment insurance program. The first $10,200 of jobless benefits would be non-taxable for households with incomes under $150,000.
Additionally, the measures provide a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums to ensure that the laid-off workers can remain on their employer health plans at no cost through the end of September.