President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion stimulus bill on Sunday, with some of those funds going toward direct payments for millions of Americans. While the bill has been signed into law, there are still a number of unknowns about the bill.
Here is what is known:
- Congress has authorized that most Americans making less than $75,000 a year will get a direct payment of $600 (couples making less than $150,000 a year will get $1,200). Heads of households making $124,500 annually also will receive the full $600.
- Those making $75,000 to $87,000 ($150,000 to $174,000 for couples) will get a prorated check. Those making over $87,000 ($164,000 for couples) will not receive a check.
- When a check will be distributed. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that those whose direct deposit information is on file with the IRS could begin receiving payments late on Tuesday, with those payments going out through next week. Treasury will begin sending out paper checks for everyone else starting on Wednesday, Mnuchin said.
- Once again, young adults considered dependents of their parents are not eligible for the payments.
- The amount given per child under the age of 17 will increase from $500 to $600.
- Americans will receive the second round of stimulus checks the same way they received the first one.
- While most Americans who received a stimulus check in the spring will receive one, changes to income between 2018 and 2019 could alter payments.
What is unknown:
- Will Congress authorize an increase of the direct payments from $600 to $2,000. Trump called on an increase to direct payments, which got support from the House on Monday, mostly due to strong Democratic support. Now the bill goes to the Senate, but it is unknown if the bill will even get a vote there.
Why would I qualify for a check in the spring, but not now?
This would mostly be due to a change in income. The IRS went by income from the most recent tax return that had been submitted by the spring. The filing deadline for 2019 taxes was July 15. For many Americans, the IRS used 2018 return information. If someone saw their income increase from 2018 to 2019, that information would now be in the IRS’ hands.
Conversely, if your income dropped in 2019 compared to 2018, that might make you eligible for a check this time around.
Undocumented immigrants still will not receive a check, but their spouses may
During the last round of stimulus checks, many families did not receive a check if an undocumented immigrant is in the family. Now, the spouses and children of undocumented immigrants can now receive a check (assuming they meet qualifications), and also retroactively earn a check from the last round of stimulus.
When will we know if I will get $600 or $2,000
That will be decided in the coming days. The Senate met on Tuesday, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would not put the House's version to a vote. Theoretically, the Senate could approve the House’s bill on Wednesday, and Trump could sign later in the day.
Instead, it appears McConnell will attempt to tie $2,000 payments with a several policy demands of Trump's, including a review of the 2020 election and a repeal of Section 230, which provides liability protection for websites.
Regardless, a new Congress is sworn in on Sunday, and the Senate has until then to consider the legislation passed by the House yesterday.
Check status of payments
Mnuchin said that later this week, Americans can check the status of their refund payments by going to this website.
Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook.