The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package is now on its way to becoming official, after passing the House of Representatives late Friday night. But that doesn’t mean a third stimulus check is speeding toward approval. In fact, a lengthy debate over the $15 minimum wage hike and two more votes in Congress could be part of the roadmap laid out by an unusual political maneuver called budget reconciliation that Democrats are using to push through the bill. A delay to any part of the package could also push back the $1,400 stimulus check by days or weeks.
Even after a bill passes, as projected, the third stimulus check timing to arrive during tax season could complicate matters. It doesn’t help that the IRS would already have to apply a new stimulus check formula and set of qualifications to follow. In addition, the issue of priority payment groups means some may check their checks weeks before others, especially if there’s a delay of any sort (for example, if you recently moved.)
We mapped out possible dates you could expect the IRS to deliver the first wave of checks, the IRS deadline to send the last payment this time and more. Here are additional details on a “targeted” third check and every way you could get more money, less money or no new check at all. By the way, here’s every important difference between the $1,400, $600 and $1,200 checks and all the money you could get for child care and older adults. This story was recently updated.
Stimulus check: When it could come, by priority group
Democrats, who hold the majority in Congress (by virtue of a Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote in the Senate), have set a self-imposed deadline of March 14 to pass the final version of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill — this is the date federal unemployment insurance for $300 a week expires. If the Senate makes substantial changes on the COVID-19 bill and passes it with amendments, it would go back to the House for another vote. What happens if the timeline slips a week as a result? We factor that in below.
Here’s what also affects stimulus delivery dates. The IRS organized the first two payment rounds according to payment groups, with direct deposit recipients the first in line, followed by people receiving physical checks and then EIP cards. Using the timeline from the second payment, we can take an educated guess as to when the IRS could start sending the first checks for each group.
Complicating matters, the IRS is also dealing with tax returns at the same — more on that below. Keep in mind, it could take weeks for the IRS to process every group’s funds, so consider the possible dates below as just a starting point. We refresh this timeline as the situation evolves.
Could your stimulus payment group change? Yes
When you get your stimulus money would likely depend on how you get it. That was largely true with the first two checks (there are always some exceptions) and is expected to play out similarly the third time around. Direct-deposit recipients typically get their stimulus money faster, as evidenced by how the government handled the first two rounds of payments in March and December. But both times there were issues involving deposits going to temporary accounts that were rejected by banks.
The IRS told CNET in January that some people who received a physical check or EIP card the first time may get paid by the other method the second time around. And, anecdotally, we’ve heard of people who received direct deposit payments the first time finally getting an EIP card in the mail — and not an electronic bank transfer — weeks after the IRS tool said the payment was issued.
While you won’t have the final say in how you get your payment, we recommend signing up for direct deposit with the IRS when you submit your 2020 tax return, if you ordinarily file taxes. If you already have an account, make sure your details are correct. We also suggest you try to file your taxes quickly. While you can file an extension to submit your taxes later (you’d still have to pay taxes owed now) whether that will help or hurt you may get a little complicated.
The other payment groups loosely defined (by us) include Social Security beneficiaries who received payments a different way the first time if they’re part of the SSI or SSDI programs, and people with more complex scenarios that could lead to potential issues or holdups receiving their money. People in different child support situations are one example we’ve seen, as are people who are incarcerated and people with complex citizenship scenarios.
We may know the IRS deadline to finish sending new stimulus checks
The Jan. 15 deadline for the second stimulus check approved in December was written into the text of the bill without explanation. Anyone who didn’t receive all or part of their second payment must claim it as part of the IRS’ Recovery Rebate Credit on their tax return to get the funds owed — even if they have non-filer status and aren’t typically required to file taxes.
The latest proposal (PDF) would give the IRS a Dec. 31, 2021 cutoff to complete sending out the third stimulus checks…Read more>>