The Senate has now passed a version of Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan, which includes a third round of stimulus checks for Americans.
WASHINGTON — Since January, Americans have been anxiously awaiting the $1,400 stimulus checks that President Joe Biden announced as part of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan. The House first approved its version of the “American Rescue Plan” on February 27. The Senate has now passed a different version of the bill, but both include the direct payments. Now the House of Representatives must reconsider the bill before it is signed into law.
In both versions of the bill, individual tax applicants earning up to $75,000 per year get $1,400. Couples who earn up to $150,000 will receive $2,800. There will also be $1,400 for each dependent in the household.
In the House version that was passed, the money was paid out in stages up to $100,000 income for individuals and $200,000 for couples. But in the Senate version, it stopped at $80,000 and $160,000, respectively.
Due to those changes and other amendments in the Senate version of the bill, the plan goes back to the House of Representatives. Representatives must vote on the Senate version or the two chambers can hold a conference to reach a middle ground.
About 8 million fewer households will receive a check under the Senate bill compared to what the House has passed, an analysis of the Household Tax Policy Center.
When will the third stimulus check be sent?
Democrats and Biden want the COVID-19 relief plan approved by Sunday, March 14. Then extra unemployment aid and other pandemic aid will lapse. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the House will vote on the bill Tuesday. So it looks like the Democrats need to meet that March 14 deadline.
During the first round of stimulus checks in April 2020, it took about two weeks for the federal government to start handing out the money. It took about a week for the second round of checking, worth $600, in early January.
If the IRS can stick to earlier timelines, Americans could receive stimulus checks from late March to early April. For example, if the stimulus package was signed into law on March 14, based on previous emergency plans, the first direct deposits could be made in the week of March 22.
Another possible complicating factor is that this round of stimulus checks is likely to take place while the IRS is processing tax returns.
CALCULATOR: Here is a tool of Omni Calculator that can help you determine how much you could receive
Biden’s plan required $1,400 checks for most Americans, which, in addition to the $600 provided in the most recent COVID-19 bill, would bring the total to the $2,000 Biden has requested.
But Biden didn’t make that distinction at first. Biden said on January 4 while campaigning to Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock ahead of Georgia’s Senate election: “Their election will end the Washington bloc of that $2,000 stimulus check. That money going out the door immediately.”
The House law extended federal unemployment benefits through August 29, increasing that aid to $400 a week. That’s in addition to what beneficiaries get through their state unemployment insurance program.
The Senate bill would extend the increased unemployment benefits to $300 a week until Sept. 6. Also, the first $10,200 in benefits would be non-taxable. The provision applies to households with incomes below $150,000.
The Senate MP, who advises the Senate on its rules and procedures but has no formal authority, ruled last month that a provision to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour should be scrapped. While it was within the purview of the Senate to change the rules to allow for its inclusion, it did not.
Senators voted 58-42 against an amendment by Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to reintroduce the minimum wage into the bill.
The House version did include the $15 minimum wage increase. The House will have to decide whether to accept the Senate version it doesn’t have.
While there may still be about $600 worth of $600 stimulus checks in the mail, the IRS said they’ve issued them all.
So if Americans have not received payment or have not received their full amount, they may be eligible for a Credit for recovery discount when they file a 2020 tax return.
Eligibility for the credit will be based on tax year 2020 information, while economic impact payments were based on 2019 (or in some cases 2018 tax information).
As a reminder, the first round of payments was limited to $1,200 per eligible adult and $500 per dependent. The second was worth up to $600 for each eligible family member. Those who have received a greater economic impact compensation than they were owed will not be penalized. The IRS began accepting tax returns for 2020 on Feb. 12.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.