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Biden’s COVID-19 Stimulus Package Is Law, And Checks Soon on the Way

Americans could start to receive their stimulus payments this weekend.

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President Joe Biden just signed the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill passed by the Senate last weekend, and the House on Wednesday, at around 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 11th, a day earlier than scheduled.

Though he was originally scheduled to sign the bill on Friday, March 12th, the signing ceremony was an opportunity for Biden to celebrate a huge political victory, ahead of a prime-time address on Thursday night where Biden will discuss a second bill to keep building on beating the virus and economic recovery from the pandemic.

For those who are eligible, the earlier signing bodes well for earlier distribution of the third round of economic stimulus, the much-discussed $1,400 checks. Here’s what you need to know.

When can the IRS start sending out the stimulus payments?

As soon as Biden signs, which he just has, the IRS can start sending out payments. Given the improvements in speed between the first and second stimulus payments, we wouldn’t be surprised if some folks (likely those with the lowest incomes, who were prioritized during the other two rounds) received direct deposit payments this weekend.

At a press conference after signing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed as much.

If you haven’t given the IRS your bank information for direct deposit and are owed a stimulus payment, they’ll likely start to print and mail checks early next week. But given the current state of the postal service, it may be a little while until your check arrives in the mail.

How do I know if I’m eligible for a stimulus payment and how much will I receive?

Individual filers with adjusted gross incomes up to $75,000 on their latest tax return and joint filers with AGIs up to $150,000 on theirs are due the full $1,400 per person payment. Individual incomes between $75,000 and $80,000 and joint incomes between $150,000 and $160,000 will receive smaller amounts based on how much over those thresholds their incomes are. Each dependent claimed on the most recent tax return is worth an additional $1,400 in stimulus for all eligible taxpayers.

What else is in the bill?

The 242-page piece of legislation isn’t all about stimulus checks. Also making it into the final text of the bill are:

  • A much more generous reworked child tax credit
  • An extension of $300 weekly unemployment benefits through September
  • $350 billion for state and local government aid, some of which is earmarked for capital projects
  • $130 billion to help reopen schools and colleges
  • $30 billion in assistance for renters and landlords
  • $50 billion for small business assistance
  • $160 billion for vaccine development and distribution

The biggest thing that didn’t make it into the final bill is a long-overdue increase to the federal minimum wage. It’s among the legislative priorities, including immigration reform, infrastructure funding, and voting rights legislation, that Biden and Democrat leaders in the House and Senate can turn to now that the American Rescue Plan is finally law.