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Who Gets Stimulus Checks — and When? What to Know on COVID-Bill Payments

Now that the final version of Democrats’ COVID-relief bill has passed the House in a party-line vote, one question is top of mind for many Americans: Can I expect to see another stimulus check?

According to the Penn Wharton Budget Model, an estimated 90 percent of American households will be eligible for the new round of payments, the first of which could be sent out within days of President Biden signing the bill on Friday. 

The new payments are the largest of the COVID stimulus checks, at $1,400 per person, including dependents. A couple with two children could receive up to $5,600. Families will also receive the additional money for adult dependents over the age of 17, unlike the two earlier rounds of payments.

While individuals earning less than $75,000 of adjusted gross income, heads of households earning less than $112,500, and married couples earning less than $150,000 will be eligible to receive the full amount, the checks phase out more quickly than the first two rounds of stimulus payments.

Those earning at least $80,000-a-year, heads of households who earn at least $120,000, and married couples who earn at least $160,000 will all be ineligible for the new payment.

Meanwhile, the first round saw 94 percent of families receiving the money, with a cut-off introduced for individuals earning at least $99,000, head of household filers with one child who earned more than $136,500, and married couples without children earning more than $198,000.

The second round was limited to single filers without children making less than $87,000 and married couples without children making less than $174,000. Ninety-two percent of families received a payment then.

Income will be determined by a taxpayer’s most recent return: those who have filed a 2020 return before the payment is sent will have their eligibility determined by their 2020 adjusted gross income. Otherwise, the income threshold will be based on the 2019 return.

However, individuals who have earned more in 2020 than 2019 need not worry about owing money if they receive a payment based on the previous year’s income. For individuals who saw a loss of income in 2020, filing a tax return before the payments go out could mean a bigger check.

As with the first two rounds of payments, individuals with bank information on file with the IRS are likely to receive the money first, in the form of a direct deposit. Others may see payment via paper checks or prepaid debit cards in the mail.

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