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Stimulus update: What the latest plan means for third IRS checks, extra unemployment, child tax credits

Democrats plan to pass the bill through Congress on Friday. There’s something in it for everybody.

Stimulus update: What the latest plan means for third IRS checks, extra unemployment, child tax credits
[Photo: Emil Kalibradov/Unsplash]
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Yesterday, Democrats released the latest version of their $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, the American Rescue plan. This is relevant to you because after months of speculation, we finally know the likely exact amounts of dough that you can expect to see land in your bank account.

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What’s in the bill for me?

  • $1,400 stimulus checks per person, phasing down for people who earn more than $75,000 as individuals or $150,000 as couples. (If you’re on the cusp, you might want to strategically schedule your 2020 tax filing to maximize your payment.)
  • $3,000 child tax credits for children under age 18, plus an additional $600 for children age five and under. (The previous credit was $2,000, and did not include 17 year-olds—who, as we all know, are rather expensive beings.) The credit phases down for single parents with incomes over $112,500 or $150,000 for couples. (Key detail: The credit will arrive in monthly advance payments from the IRS beginning in July so that those struggling do not need to wait until next tax season to benefit from the increase.)

What about unemployment benefits?

The bill extends jobless benefit eligibility for six more months, through August, which is critical for the over 10 million people whose eligibility would otherwise expire in the coming weeks. Those receiving unemployment will also received an additional $400 per week.

Is there a timeline here?

Democrats plan to pass the bill through Congress on Friday, which will pave the way for aid to flow directly to you by March.

Are these numbers set in stone?

No. A handful of center-leaning Democrats and Republicans in Congress now hold a lion’s share of sway in negotiations, as their votes may be pivotal. This said, the numbers that affect you directly in the short term—stimulus check amounts, unemployment payment figures—have general bipartisan support. This bill’s battlefields lie elsewhere, such as the clause raising minimum wage to $15 over four years, which may well not make it into the final bill.

Will the bill pass?

It will likely pass Democrat-controlled Congress, albeit narrowly: Though Republicans are balking at the price tag, Democrats have the votes to pass it, and a few Republicans may well break ranks and support it, due to the bill’s popularity with voters. Stay tuned.