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Stimulus check update: Payments are still going out

Small change lying on top of a government check.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A third stimulus check is included in the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. President Joe Biden signed the legislation into law in early March, approving stimulus checks for millions of eligible Americans. Many people have received theirs already, but some payments are still going out.

So you might want to know the timeline or stimulus check date, and how to use a third stimulus check calculator to find your stimulus check amount, since the income limits have changed compared to previous checks.

The third stimulus check amount is $1,400, which, when coupled with the previous $600 check from December, would get $2,000 to millions of Americans. The third stimulus check eligibility guidelines are more generous to dependents than they were for the first and second checks, but less generous in terms of income limits.

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. 

Above that limit, the amount of money distributed decreases rapidly, and individuals who earn more than $80,000 per year or $160,000 per year as joint filers will get nothing. (We have more information about how to calculate how much you'll get below.)

Dependent children up to age 23, as well as elderly parents dependent upon adult children, may also qualify for the full $1,400, a big change from the previous two bills.

Here's everything else we know about the third stimulus check.

Third stimulus check update today (April 8)

According to the IRS, another wave of $1,400 stimulus checks should have arrived or been mailed out on Wednesday (April 7). However, it did not specify how many payments would be deposited, and how many are left to be deposited. 

Meanwhile, the Social Security Administration has provided the IRS with the information needed to send stimulus payments to people who live on Social Security and disability and who have not filed income-tax statements in the past few years. 

Those individuals should have received direct deposits on April 7 or receiving checks or debit cards shortly thereafter. However, recipients of veterans' benefits will have to wait a week or two longer.

If you're wondering where your stimulus check is, use the IRS's stimulus check tracker to get an update on your payment. If you're scheduled for a payment, either via direct deposit or paper check, the tracker will show you when to expect it. It will also alert you if there's a hold up with your payment. 

President Biden signed American Rescue Plan Act in early March. He initially championed a version of the plan in his first days in office, so it's a significant legislative moment. 

Plus-up payments vs. fourth stimulus check

It turns out some people might be getting another stimulus check, but this one won't be a fourth stimulus check. Instead, it's a supplement to the third stimulus check these people received under President Biden's American Rescue Plan Act. 

The IRS is calling these "plus-up" checks. They apply to people whose third stimulus checks were based on their 2019 tax returns but whose tax situation changed drastically in 2020 — they may have made a lot less money, got married, or had a baby, among other factors. Some non-tax-filers may qualify too. 

If you think you might qualify for a plus-up check, make sure to file your 2020 tax return as soon as possible.

The odds of there being an actual fourth stimulus check are pretty low, but support seems to be growing in the U.S. Senate for recurring payments for people at the low end of the income scale. 

A group of 21 Senate Democrats sent the White House a letter urging that President Biden consider including such a provision in his infrastructure-improvement plans — the second such letter in a month.

Stimulus check tracker

Tracking your stimulus check status online can help you locate your third stimulus payment, or see whether it's scheduled yet. As was the case with the first stimulus check, the IRS offers an online tool that can tell you when to expect to see $1,400 in your bank account or mailbox. 

Step 1: Got to the IRS Get My Payment app website. Click "Get My Payment" to enter the portal. 

Step 2: Click "OK" on the authorized-use notification page after you've reviewed the terms. 

Step 3: Fill out your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Tax ID (ITIN), your date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY), your street address and your ZIP code. Click "Continue."

You should now see your stimulus check payment status, or a page that says your status is unavailable. 

Third stimulus check amount: How much is the third stimulus check?

The third stimulus check is worth $1,400 for Americans who make $75,000 or less per year. When President Joe Biden proposed the third round of payments, he said they'll supplement the $600 payments that began going out late last year. 

That means those eligible should receive up to $2,000 total from the government between December and April.

Stimulus check eligibility: Who will get the stimulus check?

If you were eligible for the full amount of the first and second stimulus checks, you will likely also be eligible for the third stimulus check, but not everyone who got smaller checks in the first two rounds will receive money this time.

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. This time around, the amount will be reduced by $28 for every $100 of income above the threshold.

If you made between $75,000 and $80,000 on your last tax return, multiply every dollar above $75,000 by 0.28. Take the resulting number and subtract it from $1,400. The result will be the size of your stimulus check.

So if you make $77,000, the amount to multiply by 0.28 would be $2,000. That comes to $560. Subtract that from $1,400 and you get $840. We have a link to a stimulus check calculator.

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.

In the third bill, the cutoff will be $80,000 per year for single filers and $160,000 per year for joint filers. 

The American Rescue Plan Act also stipulates that dependents up to age 23, as well as senior parents living with adult children, will 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.

To find out how much you can expect, enter some basic information into the American Rescue Plan calculator

You’ll need to confirm that you filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return and select your filing status (single, married or head of household). You’ll also enter the number of dependents you claimed as well as your adjusted gross income from your most recent return. The tool will automatically calculate your estimated payment. 

Third stimulus check dependents: Who qualifies?

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, more dependents will be eligible for stimulus checks than in previous relief legislation. Dependents age 23 or younger and elderly parents living with their adult children all qualify.

If you meet the complete stimulus check income limit requirements and claim a dependent, you'll receive an additional $1,400. A family of four could get $5,600, for example.