Third stimulus check payments worth $1,400 could be sent out soon, as a follow-up to the $600 checks that reached millions of Americans beginning in late December. The relief money is expected to be part of a wide-ranging stimulus bill to be proposed under the new presidential administration led by Joe Biden.
While the $900 billion second stimulus check relief package, signed into law by outgoing President Donald Trump just after Christmas, included immediate help in the form of extended unemployment benefits, small business loans, PPE distribution and virus-testing funds, it's still unclear what additional aid the third stimulus check will be packaged with.
- Second stimulus check calculator: See how much money you get
- Just in: Biden calls for $1,400 payments
So what's the third stimulus check update? As it stands, the proposed third stimulus check amount is $1,400, which, when coupled with the existing $600 check, would get $2,000 to all eligible Americans.
The third stimulus-check eligibility guidelines will likely be a bit more generous than they were for the first and second checks.
People who make up to $75,000 a year, according to their most recent tax returns, will still qualify for the entire payment. Couples filing jointly will get the full payment if they have a joint total income of $150,000 or less.
But dependent children up to age 23, as well as elderly parents dependent upon adult children, may also qualify for the full amount, a change from the previous two bills.
Here's everything we know about the proposed third stimulus check, including new details on where it stands.
Third stimulus check update today (Jan. 20)
An update on the status of a third stimulus check could come as soon as Joe Biden takes office later today.
The incoming 46th president, whose Democratic Party holds the majority in both chambers of Congress, said in a speech Jan. 14 that sending out more relief money would be an early priority of his administration as the pandemic continues to impact the country.
As of Jan. 20, exactly a year since the first reported case in the country, Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. had topped 400,000.
“We will finish the job of getting a total of $2,000 in cash relief to people who need it the most," said Biden while unveiling his $1.9 trillion relief plan last week. "The $600 already appropriated is simply not enough.”
Meanwhile, the second stimulus check should have already arrived for most eligible taxpayers. Jan. 15 was the last day by which the IRS had to get payments mailed or deposited.
If you haven't received your check, you might have to claim it on your next tax returns using the Recovery Rebate Credit. You can check the status of your second stimulus check using the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov.
In addition to direct payments, Biden's relief bill framework provides aid for small businesses, resumes federal supplements to people receiving state unemployment benefits and gives money to institutions that are at the forefront of combating the coronavirus.
The proposal also includes both a $300 federal unemployment supplement, as well as $300 billion for small business assistance, which includes Paycheck Protection Program loans.
As Covid-19 vaccines finally start to be distributed, the deal also includes funding for distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The government hopes that every American that wants to be vaccinated can do so by summer 2021.
Third stimulus check date: What's the timeline?
The timeline of the third stimulus check will begin to take shape once legislation for Joe Biden's proposed relief plan is introduced in the House of Representatives.
In the best-case scenario, the House and Senate would quickly pass the plan with little negotiation, and the president could sign off on the bill soon afterward. However, it's more likely that lawmakers will spend time debating the cost and allocations of the relief bill.
Will talks face the same delaying tactics and about-faces as they did with the second stimulus check plan? Perhaps not, because Democratic leaders in Congress are united in support for new stimulus checks. But unless Democrats use a special legislative shortcut, the relief bill will need the support of at least 10 Republican senators to avoid a bill-blocking filibuster.
Third stimulus check eligibility: Who qualifies for $1,400 payments?
If you were eligible for the first and second stimulus checks, you will likely also be eligible for the third stimulus check.
In the first two stimulus bills, people who earned $75,000 or less per year according to their most recent tax returns qualified for the entire stimulus check. Joint filers who earned up to $150,000 per year were also eligible for the entire amount.
People who earned more than those amounts received a prorated amount that was reduced by $5 for every $100 of income above the threshold.
Because the payment amounts were different between the first two bills, the income cutoff to get any money at all was $99,000 for single filers for the first check, but only $87,000 in the second check. The cutoffs were double those amounts for joint filers.
If the same formula ends up being applied to Biden's proposed $1,400 checks, then the income cutoffs to get any money would rise to $103,000 for single filers and $206,000 for joint filers.
Biden also proposes that dependents up to age 23, as well as senior parents living with adult children, should qualify families for additional $1,400 payments. That means that most Americans who are dependents of someone who earns up to $75,000 would be eligible for the third stimulus check.
Third stimulus check calculator: See how much you're eligible for
The third stimulus check calculator could be useful to know how much you money you'll get as you look into your next few months of personal finances. It’s also useful to read up on the best ways to spend your stimulus check if you don’t already have a plan for your payment.
Forbes made a third stimulus check calculator that can help you figure out your third stimulus check amount.
How it works: Go to https://www.forbes.com/advisor/personal-finance/third-stimulus-check-calculator/. Complete the short questionnaire. Enter how you filed your taxes (single/joint), how many children you have and your adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2019.
Third stimulus check: Why do we need $2,000?
While the pace of job loss is slowing, a record-breaking number of people have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. Nearly 70 million Americans, or about 40% of the labor force, have filed for unemployment benefits during the pandemic, as reported by Fox Business.
More people could still be laid off due to a second wave of lockdowns and mandatory business closures. Financial technology firm SimplyWise reported that 63% of Americans would require stimulus checks if they're expected to pay all their bills.