President Joe Biden signed his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package into law Thursday. Now that the American Rescue Plan Act has become law, the Treasury Department is expected to begin delivering $1,400 stimulus checks to millions of Americans.
Stimulus checks could start hitting bank accounts "as soon as this weekend," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a press conference Thursday.
The Treasury Department and the IRS are working hard to make sure as many payments as possible go out in March, Psaki said during a press conference Tuesday. "The IRS and Bureau of the Fiscal Service are building on lessons learned from previous rounds to increase the number of households that will get electronic payments, which are substantially faster than checks," Psaki said.
Here's what we know about how quickly the third round of stimulus checks could be distributed and how to make sure you get yours as soon as possible.
Whether you get your third stimulus check quickly will likely depend on how you've filed your taxes. The federal government will issue the first batch of $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans who gave direct deposit information when they filed their most recent tax return, for either 2019 or 2020, a Treasury Department official confirmed to NBC.
If you didn't file your taxes electronically or at all, it's possible the IRS has your direct deposit information on file from other programs. For example, if you receive Social Security retirement, survivor, or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), railroad retirement benefits, or Veterans Affairs disability compensation or pension benefits, the IRS may already have access to your bank account information to distribute your stimulus check quickly.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
When the first round of stimulus checks went out in April 2020, the IRS said they would prioritize sending aid to lower-income families first. This time around, the government has not specified whether Americans at the lower end of the income threshold will get priority.
For the first two rounds of stimulus checks, the IRS created an online portal called the "Get My Payment" site to track the status of your aid. It's unclear whether or not the IRS will update the portal for the third round of stimulus checks, but it still may help you determine how soon to expect your third check.
The "Get My Payment" portal allows you to check the status of your first or second stimulus check and confirm whether the payment was a paper check or direct deposit. If you received a previous check via direct deposit, you'll likely receive the third stimulus check the same way.
When distributing the last two rounds of stimulus checks, the IRS also released a "non-filer portal" which allowed individuals to update their information with the tax agency, including direct deposit information. The portal has since been closed, but if the IRS had your information on file before the portal closed at the end of September 2020, you're likely to be among the first round of stimulus check recipients.
If the IRS doesn't have your direct deposit information on file, you're likely to be among the last to receive your stimulus payment. Your money will be mailed to you in the form of a paper check or a debit card formally called an EIP (Economic Impact Payment) card.
The legislation offers full $1,400 payments to individuals with adjusted gross income of up to $75,000, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for married couples who file a joint tax return. You'll also be eligible to receive $1,400 per each qualifying dependent.
The payments are reduced for those with income above those thresholds. You will not be eligible for a stimulus check at all if you're an individual with an adjusted gross income of $80,000 or more, a head of household with an income of $120,000, or a married couple earning $160,000 or more.
Use Grow's calculator below to determine how much stimulus money you could be eligible for.
If you were eligible for any stimulus money in the first two rounds but didn't receive some or all of it, filing your 2020 taxes will give you the opportunity to claim the aid as a tax credit, according to Janet Holtzblatt, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. Filing your 2020 taxes will also give you the opportunity to tell the IRS if you have any dependents who might qualify for a stimulus check.
The same provision will apply to the third round of stimulus checks. If you don't receive as much aid as you are eligible for, filing your 2021 taxes next spring will give you the opportunity to claim the stimulus payment as a tax credit.
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