Stimulus check details right now: New payment size, timeline, who’s eligible

Stimulus check details right now: New payment size, timeline, who’s eligible

By the end of this week, the details of the third stimulus check should be smoothed out, giving us a better idea of how much money you could receive this time. Currently, the House of Representatives is working on finalizing the payment details as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, with a goal of having Biden sign the final legislation before the middle of March. Along with establishing how soon the third stimulus check could arrive and who would qualify, the bill could include a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour and $400 weekly federal checks for unemployed Americans.

During discussions, Congress will need to tie up any loose ends of the proposal, including whether you and your dependents could qualify for a new payment (or be disqualified entirely). They also need to clarify what happens if the IRS has to send out payments in the middle of tax season, and how you could get more money (or less) as a result of new income limits that “target” the payment and change the stimulus check formula.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know, such as how to claim any money you’re missing from the first or second stimulus check, including missing money for your dependents, and whether you need to file for an IRS payment trace. (And here’s the 411 on an extra $600 stimulus check for Californians.) This story was recently updated.

What’s the current status of the third check?

The new stimulus bill and its third check are close. By Sunday, Feb. 28, the House plans to pass its version of the bill and then send the legislation to the Senate, which could send it on to Biden to sign by March 14. “We will meet this deadline,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told Senate Democrats on Feb. 19.

The current bill, which the House will continue to fine-tune this week, includes a third stimulus check, with a $1,400-per-person maximum. To “target” or restrict the third check to lower- and middle-income households, the legislation will include eligibility rules that exclude individuals and families at the highest income levels. An individual with an AGI (adjusted gross income) of at least $100,000 a year would hit the payment cutoff, as would a head of household earning $150,000 and a couple filing jointly with an AGI of $200,000.

However, any dependent a taxpayer claims could qualify for a $1,400 payment, but unlike with the first two 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 worked. If you want to see for yourself, try our stimulus calculator for the third check to see how it could affect your situation.

Will the third stimulus payment be based on your 2019 or 2020 taxes?

Tax season and the timing of a third stimulus check will most likely overlap. What that means for you is, the IRS will likely base your total on income from either your 2020 or 2019 tax returns, whichever it has on hand when it determines the size of your payment.  If you qualify for the full $1,400 based on your 2020 taxes, but your check was lower because the IRS based it on your 2019 taxes, you’d have to claim the difference when you file in 2022.

Here’s how your check could be affected if you file for a tax extension, and what would happen if the IRS pushed the tax deadline past April 15Read more>>