The coronavirus pandemic has been a blight on the national economy. Not only are people suffering physically from the disease, but the number of jobs and livelihoods threatened by the virus have made the situation even more dire.
To save the economy from spiraling further out of control, President Trump signed a new coronavirus relief bill into law that offers immediate financial relief to individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic. Tap or click to find out what’s inside the bill.
But legal matters can be complicated, and this historic relief bill is no exception. To make it easier for our readers, we’re showing you everything you need to know about your upcoming stimulus check and how to get your hands on it.
1. Who is eligible for a government stimulus check?
President Donald Trump signed the landmark $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill for businesses and taxpayers on March 27, just days after the legislation was passed by both houses of Congress on a bipartisan consensus.
The bill will provide financial support to millions of businesses and individuals affected by the global pandemic, and as part of the aid package, American citizens can expect a stimulus check from the United States government in just a few short weeks.
Eligibility is determined by tax returns filed for the 2019 and 2018 tax years, with payments being phased out for high-income individuals making $99,000 or more annually.
Married couples will see payments being phased out for couples making over $150,000 annually. Additionally, married couples making between $150,000 and $198,000 will receive smaller checks.
Unemployed individuals will still be eligible for the stimulus check, but they will have needed to file taxes for either the 2018 or 2019 tax years to qualify. They can also apply for unemployment insurance, which saw a $600 weekly increase thanks to the relief bill.
2. How much am I eligible for?
The relief bill pledges funds for the Department of the Treasury to direct cash payments to taxpayers. These amounts include up to $1,200 for adults and $500 for each dependent under 17.
Married taxpayers filing jointly will receive a $2,400 instead, and will still qualify for the $500 per child depending on the size of their families.
As mentioned above, high-income individuals will see the size of their checks decrease before capping out for individuals making $99,000 annually. Joint filers will see payments cap out for families making $198,000 annually.
If you want to know the exact amount you or your family will qualify for, tap or click here for a handy calculator. It will tally your check based on your annual income and family size.
3. When is my stimulus check coming?
United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin set a goal of getting the first set of checks disbursed during the week of April 6, but no official timeline has been set.
This is not an official timetable. Previous stimulus checks disbursed by the United States Government have seen a much slower roll-out, but officials are optimistic this could happen much faster today, thanks to electronic filing and direct depositing of tax refunds.
This is on top of the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, which has left many Americans in a much tighter spot thanks to job losses and mandatory social distancing policies. Tap or click here to see how independent workers like Uber drivers are handling the crisis.
4. How will I get my stimulus check?
The IRS will reportedly use any direct deposit information you previously provided to directly deposit your stimulus check into your bank account. If you do not have this information on file, checks will be mailed to the address on your 2018 or 2019 tax return.
If you no longer live at the address listed on your previous years’ tax returns, you should submit a change of address form to the United States Postal Service to make sure no mail gets misplaced. You can visit the official USPS mail forwarding webpage here.
Bonus: Venmo from Uncle Sam!?
While this twist in the story might not end up panning out, an interesting tidbit has emerged from the tech industry.
According to reports from CNN Business, developers for payment apps like Venmo, Zelle and Cash App have been meeting with Treasury officials to potentially disburse relief via instant peer-to-peer payments.
Proponents say this would get the money into the hands of citizens much faster than ordinary checks, and tech industry leaders like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey are confident the private sector can help out in a major way.
People need help immediately. The technology exists to get money to most people today (even to those without bank accounts). Square and many of our peers can get it done. US government: let us help. https://t.co/mVrpOpbp0b— jack (@jack) March 26, 2020
If this works out, you can get your check much faster than with an ordinary direct deposit or check-by-mail. It does beg the question of whether fees will be deducted when you transfer from the app to your bank account, though.
Even still, it might be a good time to get familiar with peer-to-peer payment apps so you can choose the one you want to get your check from. They’re fast, secure and easy to use. Plus, they’re a contactless way to send money, which can prevent the spread of germs. Tap or click here to see how each of the payment apps compare.