Congress approves COVID bill: When to expect $1,400 stimulus checks

Congress approves COVID relief

FILE- In this April 23, 2020, file photo a stimulus check issued by the IRS to help combat the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak is shown in San Antonio. Compounding the hardships of coronavirus, some nursing homes have demanded that low-income residents turn over their $1,200 economic stimulus checks. On Tuesday, June 9, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called on the Health and Human Services inspector general's office to issue a warning to nursing homes and assisted living facilities that such practices are improper and unlawful. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Congress has approved another round of stimulus checks to most Americans this month -- here’s what you need to know.

A Congress riven along party lines approved a landmark $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Wednesday, as President Joe Biden and Democrats claimed a triumph on a bill that marshals the government’s spending might against twin pandemic and economic crises that have upended a nation.

More: Congress OKs $1.9T virus relief bill in win for Biden, Dems

The House gave final congressional approval to the sweeping package by a near party line 220-211 vote precisely seven weeks after Biden entered the White House and four days after the Senate passed the bill without a single Republican vote. GOP lawmakers opposed the package as bloated, crammed with liberal policies and heedless of signs the crises are easing.

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)

Related: Child tax credit changes in COVID bill: How much families can get

When could Americans start seeing payments?

The White House said Wednesday that President Biden will sign the massive bill on Friday, March 12.

Based on the IRS timeframe from the last round of payments, payments could begin within a few days of passage. So if the bill is signed by the end of this 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.

Read more: Highlights of the COVID-19 relief bill advancing in Congress

Unemployment aid

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.


About the Authors:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.