What You Need to Know About the Next Stimulus Bill

The latest COVID-19 relief package has been unveiled, and this time it is going to include $1,400 stimulus checks. This will take up almost half of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan and will be open to more people than previous rounds of stimulus.

This relief package would send checks up to $1,400 to individuals making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000.

So, who will be eligible for these checks? This new bill opens the possibility to Americans who are considered dependents. This would include college students and disabled adults as well as older Americans who are claimed as dependents for tax purposes.

The proposal also included support for those who are unemployed by extending temporary unemployment and benefits up to Aug. 29. The weekly benefit will be raised from $300 to $400.

Furthermore, the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers without children will be boosted by increasing eligibility and almost tripling the maximum credit, making it the greatest expansion since 2009.

The Child Tax Credit will be increased to $3,000 per child and $3,600 per child under 6 years of age. It will also be made fully advanceable and refundable. Families will also be allowed to claim up to half of their childcare expenses with the expansion of the Child and Dependent Tax Credit.

There will also be protection for the elderly and strengthened retirement security with this new plan.

Healthcare premiums for low- and middle-income families will be decreased by increasing the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credits for 2021 and 2022.

It is important to note that this is all what has been proposed, and that Congress is going through the process of approving this package now. However, with the Democrats in control of both the House and the Senate, it is extremely likely that this bill will be passed and that everything will go into effect within the next couple of weeks.

The biggest piece of news here is that college students who are claimed as a dependent by their parents will now be eligible for the new round of checks. In the past, stimulus checks were only available to child dependents, and, according to the People’s Policy Project’s analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, around 13.5 million adult dependents were left out from previous checks.

Why only $1,400 checks? After Biden was elected, he said he wanted to send $2,000 direct payments to Americans, didn’t he?

Well, because the Trump administration sent out $600 stimulus checks in December, the new stimulus check combined with the previous one will add up to $2,000.

Now that we know who can get these checks, let’s go over a quick timeline of how we got to this point.

On Feb. 2, the Senate Democrats unanimously voted to begin a fast-track process for the consideration of the stimulus bill with 51 votes.

On Feb. 3, Biden met with House Democrats to review who would be the target for the third stimulus bill. During a press briefing, the White House said that Democrats were going to consider changing the income limit requirements while maintaining the $1,400 checks. Republicans wanted to lower those requirements.

On Feb. 5, the Senate approved a budget plan with Biden’s stimulus proposal. This was Vice President Kamala Harris’ first tie-breaking vote in the Senate. Then, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that the House intends to pass the relief package within two weeks.

On Feb. 8, the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives announced it would review nine proposals from Feb. 10 to Feb. 12. The third round of the stimulus will be included in these proposals.

“Our nation is struggling, the virus is still not contained, and the American people are counting on Congress to meet this moment with bold, immediate action,” said committee chairman Richard E. Neal in a press release on Feb. 8. “Later this week, the Ways and Means Committee will take a crucial step to confront this challenge and show the country that help is on the way. From increasing direct assistance to those who need it most to expanding tax credits for low- and middle-income workers, we deliver substantial solutions in this package.”

While what these politicians have to say is important, let’s get to the biggest question on Americans' minds: when will this stimulus check be given out?

According to CNET, there are two possible outcomes. If the stimulus check is passed through Congress on Feb. 26, direct deposits will be sent out as early as March 8 and paper checks as early as March 15. EIP cards could be sent out as early as March 22. However, if the check is passed on March 12, direct deposits will be sent as soon as March 22 and paper checks as soon as March 29. EIP cards would be sent as soon as April 5.