- Who gets the third stimulus check, and when? Your COVID-19 relief questions, answered
- When will the third stimulus check arrive?
- Who gets the third stimulus check?
- How much will I get?
- Will I get money for my daughter in college?
- Won't some families be shut out?
- How will the jobless get a new tax break?
- What's new with the Child Tax Credit?
- Biden’s Plan for a Third Stimulus Check
- Has the Third Stimulus Check Been Approved?
- How Much Is the Third Stimulus Check?
- What Is the Timeline for the Third Stimulus Check?
- Who Is Eligible for the Third Stimulus Check?
- How Will You Receive the Third Stimulus Check?
- Will You Have to Pay Back Money From a Previous Stimulus Check?
- How to Return a Paper Check You Have Not Cashed or Deposited
- How to Return a Paper Check You Have Cashed or Deposited
- What Should You Do With Your Third Stimulus Check?
- What Else Is Included in Biden’s Stimulus Package?
- Focus on What Goes on at Your House—Not the White House
- Third stimulus check update: 10 essential facts that clear up the confusion
- Stimulus checks are arriving in bank accounts and mailboxes
- The third check could be delayed for some
- More dependents qualify toward a stimulus check this time
- There's an income limit for the third stimulus payment
- Some people aren't eligible for any stimulus money at all
- The IRS will use your 2019 or 2020 tax return to calculate your payment amount
- Many households can expect a much larger check this time
- Eligibility guidelines have expanded this time
- The IRS is sending payments in batches through Dec. 31
Who gets the third stimulus check, and when? Your COVID-19 relief questions, answered
Sen. Chuck Schumer spoke on the Senate floor March 11, 2021, about the passage of the latest stimulus package that include $1,400 checks for most Americans. New York State Team
The third round of stimulus cash could start arriving as soon as this weekend for those with direct deposit, giving many an extra financial lift after being ground down by a year-long pandemic.
And we'll know more specifics soon now that President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan relief package into law Thursday afternoon, a day sooner than had been expected.
Biden said the relief package was “about rebuilding the backbone of this country” and giving those who are struggling a “fighting chance.”
Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, told reporters in Washington on Thursday that people will start seeing direct deposit of the stimulus checks as soon as this weekend.
But the latest stimulus money — up to $1,400 per person who qualifies — isn't the only part of the massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that will help many families who may have trouble paying their bills.
“For people who are financially stressed, there's a lot of good news for them,” Kathy Pickering, chief tax officer at H&R Block, said in an interview Thursday.
We're looking at some key tax-related benefits for many people who lost jobs in 2020 and some families with young children.
Here's how the latest relief package could hit your wallet and what you need to know:
When will the third stimulus check arrive?
If we know anything about stimulus money by now, we've come to learn that it all doesn't arrive at the same time. That could be true this time around, too, but there aren't any details yet.
Tax professionals and others continue to wait for clarity from the Internal Revenue Service about the specifics involved with the rollout.
If the IRS sends you that money via direct deposit, you'll ly be among the first to receive it, possibly as soon as this weekend, the White House says.
As part of the direct deposit process, the U.S. Treasury would start to send electronic messages to banks on Friday but bank accounts would not see any extra cash available immediately.
It's expected that March 17 would be the effective date when the Treasury actually transfers the money, according to industry experts. More than 100 million payments are expected to be payable on March 17 via direct deposit.
Consumers should watch their bank accounts in the days ahead.
More than 233 million stimulus payments were issued via direct deposit during the past two rounds of Economic Impact Payments.
The first and second round of payments also involved 64.2 million stimulus checks and 11.6 million prepaid cards.
Paper checks and prepaid Visa debit cards — which are expected to be part of the third stimulus program — would be sent in the regular mail and take a bit longer, through April at least, according to estimates by Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst for the Tax Foundation.
The official word from the IRS Wednesday was that the agency was continuing to review its rollout plans for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The IRS stated: “Additional information about a new round of Economic Impact Payments and other details will be made available on IRS.gov, once the legislation has been signed by the President.”
As a result, the IRS could be expected to issue more details later but had no new comments Thursday afternoon.
More: Michigan to get billions from COVID-19 bill as Biden gets signature win
More: Not as many Americans eligible for third stimulus check: Here's what you need to know
More: Stimulus, tax scammers are crafting new ways to trick you: What to know
Who gets the third stimulus check?
The full $1,400 goes to single people earning up to $75,000. But it phases out quickly after that and is completely phased out for those earning more than $80,000.
A full payment of $2,800 goes to a married couple filing a joint federal income tax return earning up to $150,000. The phaseout begins after that and ends at $160,000.
The IRS will use the 2019 tax return information or 2020 tax return information, what they have available, to calculate the payouts that go out soon.
How much will I get?
Again, the higher you are above the new threshold for the third stimulus, the smaller your payout will be this time around.
Pickering ran these examples for me.
Take a single filer who has an adjusted gross income of $78,000. That single filer could expect to see the third Economic Impact Payment turn out to be around $560, a 60% reduction from the maximum $1,400 payout.
The third stimulus payments should be rolling out soon. But some people will receive far less than they might expect. Take a single filer who has an adjusted gross income of $78,000.
That single filer might expect to see the third Economic Impact Payment turn out to be around $560 — a 60% reduction from the maximum $1,400 payout, H&R Block estimates.
(Photo: mphillips007, Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Someone who is filing as head of household with a college-age dependent and $116,00 in adjusted gross income could expect an Economic Impact Payment of around $1,493 — a tiny bit more than half of the $2,800 maximum. (Under the latest program, the third stimulus payment would phase out completely for heads of household at $120,000.)
Will I get money for my daughter in college?
Possibly. Under the latest program, additional payments could go to all dependents, not just children 16 and younger.
As part of the third stimulus, all dependents qualify for up to an extra $1,400. As a result, college students age 23 or younger could qualify, or so could elderly parents living with you.
For many families with children age 17 and older, the third stimulus payout could prove to be more generous than in the past. That would particularly be true, for example, if a married couple qualifies for the full $2,800 because their adjusted gross income falls under the $150,000 threshold.
Won't some families be shut out?
Yes, some families who make more money will see a small payout or no payout.
Roughly 6.5 million households that received money in the past now won't be able to bank on receiving either the full $1,400 payment or even a partial payment when it comes to the latest Economic Impact Payments, according to estimates by the nonprofit, non-partisan Tax Foundation.
The stimulus programs always cut off some higher income families, adjusted gross income. But the third program is more laser focused on income.
Singles earning $80,000 or more won't get the third stimulus payout. Married couples earning $160,000 or more won't get money, either.
How will the jobless get a new tax break?
The latest stimulus package to be signed into law creates a new tax break for tens of millions of workers who received unemployment benefits in 2020.
Tens of millions of people received jobless benefits last year after restaurants, factories and other places of business shut down during the pandemic. And many will ly benefit from this new tax break.
“It's retroactive. This is for 2020,” Pickering said. “This is great news.”
Until now, jobless benefits had to be reported as taxable income and many would ly owe federal income taxes on those benefits.
As part of the American Rescue Plan, many taxpayers would not be required to pay taxes on up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits received last year.
The exclusion is up to $10,200 of jobless benefits for each spouse for married couples.
So it's possible that if both lost work in 2020, a married couple filing a joint return might not have pay federal income taxes on up to $20,400 in jobless benefits.
It can be a little confusing. So, for example, if one spouse received $15,000 in jobless benefits but the other received just $1,000 in unemployment compensation in 2020, then the exclusion for tax purposes that the couple would receive would be $11,200 – not $16,000.
Not everyone will be covered.
The special provision to waive taxes on some unemployment income applies to those who made less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income in 2020.
Pickering gave this example of potential savings. Take a single filer who worked for part of 2020 but who had been jobless for a short time last year.
Assume a single taxpayer had an adjusted gross income of $75,000 in 2020. And let's assume that the only jobless benefits they received totaled $10,200 when they were work.
Such a taxpayer could now exclude the $10,200 in jobless benefits.
Pickering said that single filer would be in the 22% bracket, so the filer would save about $2,244 in taxes, thanks to the new exclusion for some jobless benefits.
Obviously, some people already filed their taxes and now may need to see what other steps they'd have to take. We'll ly here more guidance from the IRS on that in the days ahead. It may be necessary to file an amended return.
If you had taxes withheld on jobless benefits, the federal taxes are withheld at a 10% rate. On $10,200 in jobless benefits, we're talking about $1,020 in federal taxes that would have been withheld. That's money that could go to cover what income taxes you owe — or possibly lead to a bigger federal income tax refund.
Many people didn't withhold taxes from their unemployment checks, so they're still looking at paying whatever taxes they might owe on unemployment benefits that exceed the new $10,200 waiver for singles and for each spouse on a married filing joint return.
Michigan alone saw 2,361,468 people receive unemployment benefits in 2020, according to the state Unemployment Insurance Agency.
Michigan is a current conformity state so up to $10,200 will be excluded from Michigan income tax too, Pickering noted.
Those who faced lengthy unemployment in 2020, though, could have received far more in benefits and could still owe some taxes on their unemployment benefits. This is just a partial tax forgiveness measure.
In some cases, if people didn't have enough taxes withheld on jobless benefits, they could still face penalties and interest.
Michigan announced in February a modest tax break for those who were jobless in 2020 and collected unemployment benefits but did not have enough tax dollars withheld last year.
If you collected state unemployment but did not pay enough income taxes into the system last year, the state of Michigan isn't going to charge you a penalty or interest related to any underpayment of estimated taxes.
The Michigan Department of Treasury has granted an automatic waiver of all penalties and interest related to underpaid estimated tax payments owed by taxpayers who received unemployment benefits in 2020.
Under Michigan state law, taxpayers are required to pay quarterly estimated tax payments when the annual tax due is expected to exceed $500 or more. Taxpayers who fail to pay an estimated quarterly tax payment are typically subject to penalties and interest.
What's new with the Child Tax Credit?
The changes relating to an expanded Child Tax Credit won't impact your 2020 tax return. But they will help in 2021.
The Child Tax Credit had offered a maximum of up to $2,000 per child. But under the new rules, a $3,600 child tax credit is available for newborns through 5-year-old children. And a $3,000 child tax credit is available for children ages 6 through 17.
Under current law, households with no income tax to offset are limited to $1,400 in refundability. But now the Child Tax Credit will be fully available and refundable to households with no income, un the Child Tax Credit’s current design, according to the nonprofit Tax Foundation.
There are two phase-out levels income.
Parents can receive the full credit if their adjusted gross income is less than $75,000 if single, less than $150,000 if married filing joint or less than $112,500 for head of household filers.
After that, the credit is reduced to $2,000 per child.
Then the credit is phased out completely for parents with an adjusted gross income starting with $200,000 if single and $400,000 if married filing jointly.
Another plus: Families would not have to wait until next year when they file their 2021 federal income tax returns. Instead, they would be able to get checks of up to $300 per child per month beginning later in the second half of this year.
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Biden’s Plan for a Third Stimulus Check
Just as most Americans received their $600 second stimulus checks from the U.S. Treasury in early January, then President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his $1.
9 trillion American Rescue Plan that includes—you guessed it—a third stimulus payment.
Now that all the details of legislation have been worked out, passed, and signed into law, how soon can you expect to see a third check in your bank account?
Has the Third Stimulus Check Been Approved?
Yes—the American Rescue Plan passed first in the House and then Senate, and was signed by President Biden on March 11. Lawmakers wanted the bill to go into effect before some COVID-19-related unemployment benefits expired in mid-March.1 And they hit their deadline just in the nick of time.
How Much Is the Third Stimulus Check?
This third round of stimulus checks includes a $1,400-per-person ($2,800-per-couple) direct payment.
This amount would top off the $600 payment most eligible folks have already received as part of a previous COVID-19 relief package Congress passed at the end of December for a total of $2,000 in stimulus payments per person. So how much will your stimulus check be? Find out with our stimulus calculator!
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The stimulus payments are one part of Biden’s much larger COVID-19 relief plan that also expands the Child Tax Credit, extends unemployment benefits for people who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, increases the Child and Dependent Care Credit, and provides more aid for renters and landlords.2 Yep, it’s a mouthful. We’ll take a closer look at what else is included later.
What Is the Timeline for the Third Stimulus Check?
Now that the bill has moved through all the hoops so it can take effect, eligible people could start seeing their stimulus payments before March is over.3 The IRS and U.S. Treasury have been quick to deliver past stimulus checks, with December’s payments reaching most folks by direct deposit within a week of then-President Donald Trump signing the legislation.4
Who Is Eligible for the Third Stimulus Check?
For the last two stimulus payments, single taxpayers earning up to $75,000 a year and couples earning up to $150,000 a year ( 2019 tax returns) were able to get the full amount. Parents also received stimulus payments for each dependent child under age 17.5,6
Those income limits won’t change for the third stimulus payment, although it will target payments to lower income earners. Under the American Rescue Plan, payments will begin phasing out for single filers making between $75,000 and $80,000 and couples making between $150,000 and $160,000.7
Eligibility for the third stimulus check would also expand to cover any non-child dependents. That means taxpayers who support certain eligible dependents age 17 and older might receive additional money as well.8
How Will You Receive the Third Stimulus Check?
Most people have received their previous stimulus checks by direct deposit with the bank account on file with the IRS. Payments were automatic for anyone who filed a 2019 tax return and/or receives Social Security benefits. If you don’t have direct deposit with the IRS, your payment would take a little more time and come as a check or debit card in the mail.9
Will You Have to Pay Back Money From a Previous Stimulus Check?
You might. Here’s why: Some people were sent stimulus checks by accident. Whoops! We know—imagine the government making a mistake, right? Here’s why you might need to send your money back:
- You make more than the income limit required to receive the stimulus money.
- You were given a check for someone who has died.
- You’re a nonresident alien.
- You don’t have a Social Security number.
- You’re claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.
If you know one of these applies to you, the IRS expects you to find the error and send the money back to them.10 So go ahead and be honest (and proactive). You don’t want any surprises when you go to file your taxes.
How to Return a Paper Check You Have Not Cashed or Deposited
If you’re one of those folks who has to send the money back—and you haven’t cashed or deposited your check yet—here’s what you need to do:
- Write “Void” in the endorsement section of the check, but don’t fold or staple it—don’t even put a paper clip on it.
- On a sticky note or sheet of paper, write down the reason you’re sending the check back.
- Mail the check and the explanation back to your local IRS office (which varies by state).
How to Return a Paper Check You Have Cashed or Deposited
If you have already cashed or deposited the check (or it came to you via direct deposit), here’s how you can return the money:
- Make a personal check or money order payable to “U.S. Treasury.”
- Write “2020EIP” on the payment and include either the taxpayer identification number or Social Security number of the person whose name was on the stimulus payment.
- On a sticky note or sheet of paper, write down the reason you’re sending the check or money order.
- Mail the check or money order and the explanation to your local IRS office (which varies by state).11
What Should You Do With Your Third Stimulus Check?
Let’s be real: Three stimulus checks in a year is not normal. This third payment can go a long way to help you catch up on bills, pay off debt, or build up your savings. And for a lot of folks, those stimulus checks have kept food on the table.
your situation, here’s where you start:
If you’re work or missing a paycheck, use this stimulus money to protect your Four Walls:
Focus on the necessities so you can have peace of mind as you keep looking for work or get your income back up. That means if you’re working the Baby Steps and you’re work, pause your plan for now. Pile up cash until you have a steady income again. Then you can attack your debt. There’s nothing fighting through a financial crisis to light your fire to be debt-free as soon as possible!
On the other hand, if your job is safe and you feel it’ll stay that way, use your stimulus money to build momentum on whatever Baby Step you’re on. Put your debt snowball into overdrive. Knock out your fully funded emergency fund. Or talk to your investment professional about giving your retirement a big boost!
No matter your situation, don’t forget to budget—it’s the best way to make your money go further. EveryDollar is our free and simple budgeting app that will help you see exactly where you need to cut back on your spending.
What Else Is Included in Biden’s Stimulus Package?
we talked about before, the president’s American Rescue Plan is full of big (and expensive) changes. It includes some of the proposals Biden campaigned on. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Increase the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 for dependents under the age of 17 to $3,000 for children ages 6–17 and $3,600 for children under age 6.
- Increase the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit from a max of 35% of qualifying childcare expenses (up to $3,000 for one child and $6,000 for two or more children) to a max of 50% of qualifying expenses (up to $4,000 for one child and $8,000 for two or more).
- Keep weekly unemployment benefit payments under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program at $300 and extend benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program through September.
- Extend the payment relief for federally guaranteed mortgages as well as the suspension on evictions and foreclosures until September.
- Provide financial support for renters and landlords.12, 13
And there’s more: Biden’s plan also includes grants and loans for small businesses, aid to state and local governments, money for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and testing, money to reopen schools, support for colleges and childcare providers, and more paid sick time for folks who have COVID-19, are quarantining because of it, or are caring for family members who are sick.14
Focus on What Goes on at Your House—Not the White House
It’s hard not to worry as you watch billions and trillions of dollars fly out the window in Washington, D.C. And while those things matter, the truth is, you have ultimate control over your money and what choices are made in your house. You have the power to improve your money situation right now—today—without having to rely on the government.
Ramsey+ will show you exactly how to do that and will give you all the tools, classes and motivation you need to pay off debt, increase your savings, and build wealth for a secure future. It’s worked for millions of people, and you can try it today for free! Take control of your future and get the hope you need—stimulus or not.
Third stimulus check update: 10 essential facts that clear up the confusion
The third stimulus check is anything but simple.
The $1,400 stimulus checks is on its way to over 100 million bank accounts and mailboxes, but there's still plenty of confusion among recipients around everything from the payment timeline to who is qualified to receive the full $1,400? Could your household total be far greater than “just” the $1,400?
Why all the confusion? The new bill changed several key details, most notably income limits, dependent benefits and a major expansion to the Child Tax Credit (here's when the CTC payments could arrive).
Some adjustments were also made to citizenship-based eligibility requirements.
And with the IRS making payments in the midst of this year's tax season, your taxes also play a big role in determining whether you'll get a check for the full amount, and when — especially now that Tax Day 2020 is May 17.
We'll walk you through what to know, including guidance on how to claim any missing stimulus money and how to track your third payment. (P.S: Here's what's being said about a fourth stimulus check so far.) This story is frequently updated.
Stimulus checks are arriving in bank accounts and mailboxes
Yes, right now. By March 17, the IRS says it sent out 90 million stimulus payments through direct deposit, with the first batch of 150,000 checks in the mail. EIP prepaid debit cards haven't yet been announced, and neither have payments for SSDI and SSI recipients.
The date your payment may arrive is a bit more complicated. However, we've mapped out some possibilities for which groups could start to get their $1,400 — and how long delivery of the checks could last.
You can track your stimulus check payment schedule and status through the IRS' online tool and can follow a paper check or EIP card to your mailbox with a free USPS service.
Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus check 3: How much money you'll get
The third check could be delayed for some
Any problem with stimulus check delivery, or a calculation error could keep you from getting your check. For example, if you moved, you need to make sure the IRS has your new address, not only the USPS. And depending on which tax year the IRS uses when processing your stimulus payment, any difference could mean you only receive a partial payment, and you have to wait for the rest.
One example would be if you gained a dependent in 2020 (including a new baby), but the IRS bases your stimulus check on your 2019 tax return. Here's more to know about stimulus checks and taxes. Read more below for which tax year the IRS will use for you.
More dependents qualify toward a stimulus check this time
The new stimulus bill opens the qualifications to roughly 13.
5 million more dependents for a third stimulus payment — for $1,400 apiece — than the first two payments did by expanding the definition of a dependent.
With the new check, any dependent — child or adult — would count toward a payment. With the first check and the second, Congress included children age 16 and under but excluded dependents 17 and older.
Being able to receive stimulus money for dependents of any age may feel an extra gift this year.
There's an income limit for the third stimulus payment
The third stimulus check comes with a $1,400-per-person maximum.
To “target” or restrict the third check to lower- and middle-income households, the legislation includes eligibility rules that exclude individuals and families at the highest income levels.
An individual with an AGI (adjusted gross income) of at least $80,000 a year would hit the payment cutoff, as would a head of household earning $120,000 and a couple filing jointly with an AGI of $160,000.
However, any dependent a taxpayer claims could qualify for a $1,400 payment. But un the first two stimulus payments, people above the hard upper limit wouldn't be able to get a partial check by having dependents. Here's how the stimulus check formula would work. If you want to see for yourself, try our stimulus calculator for the third check.
|Full $1,400 per person maximum ( AGI)||Not eligible ( AGI)|
|Less than $75,000||$80,000 or more|
|Less than $112,500||$120,000 or more|
|Less than $150,000||$160,000 or more|
Some people aren't eligible for any stimulus money at all
The strict income cap Congress has set for the third check means you could quickly be disqualified from receiving a check or receiving much less than the potential amount the House and Senate agreed to.
We explore that here, including changes in your personal life that may have an effect, such as if you got a raise in the past year or if you claim fewer dependents this time around.
Here's who might not qualify for a new stimulus check.
The IRS will use your 2019 or 2020 tax return to calculate your payment amount
Tax season and the timing of a third stimulus check overlap. What that means is that the IRS will base your total on income from either your 2020 or 2019 tax return (or even earlier), whichever it has on hand when it determines the size of your payment.
If you already filed your 2020 tax return, you can use this refund tracker to see if your 2020 return has been processed. If it has been, it's ly your stimulus check will be your 2020 filing. Otherwise, the iRS will base your stimulus check off the most recent filing in its possession, or any other information it has, if you're a nonfiler such as an SSDI or SSI recipient.
If you qualify for the full $1,400 your 2020 taxes, but your check total was lower because the IRS based it on your 2019 taxes, you'd have to claim the difference, possibly when you file in 2022, if not sooner.
Stimulus check money could add up fast — as long as you're qualified to receive it.
Many households can expect a much larger check this time
A $1,400 maximum total per person is an obvious way your household would see more money from a third check (compared to $1,200 maximum for the first and $600 for the second). But there's more to it than that.
Since the upper limit for the second check was $600 per adult with an extra $600 per child dependent (according to the IRS' formula), more people hit the upper income limit for receiving a second payment.
And that means they didn't actually qualify to get any stimulus money at all.
A third stimulus check makes more groups of people eligible to receive money (namely noncitizens who pay taxes) and bring a larger total check to qualified individuals and their families, including $1,400 payments to dependents. A change in your circumstances can also mean you qualify for more money this time. Here are other ways a third stimulus check could put more money in your pocket.
Eligibility guidelines have expanded this time
While the hard income cap will disqualify millions, the third stimulus check also extends qualifications to dependents of any age. That includes college students, older adult relatives and dependents of all ages with disabilities — not just those under 17 years old.
The second change to eligibility includes all “mixed-status households” with one or more family members who aren't US citizens.
An example would be parents who aren't US citizens, but their US-born children are. The second stimulus checks made families with one US-citizen spouse eligible.
However, people who are nonresident aliens won't qualify for a stimulus check in the third round.
The IRS is sending payments in batches through Dec. 31
Although stimulus checks are well on their way, the IRS will have until Dec. 31, 2021, to automatically send the payments.
That leeway would allow for the agency to potentially fix any direct deposit errors, calculation problems or issues including the right amount of money for dependents.
Any discrepancy between 2019 and 2020 taxes could also be claimed in this time period, presumably.
It's also ly that any issues that remain after this deadline could be resolved with taxpayers and non-filers a claiming any missing money as a Recovery Rebate Credit in 2022. Here are possible timelines for the third stimulus check, for every payment group. You might be able to solve a specific missing money problem sooner by requesting a payment trace with the IRS.
For more information about stimulus checks, here's information about other funding in the new stimulus package, how to estimate your third stimulus check and what we know about a fourth stimulus check so far.
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