WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department says it has sent out 90 million economic impact payments totaling $242 billion since President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan last week.
The bulk of those payments were made by the IRS as direct deposits, which recipients starting seeing in their bank accounts last weekend, officials said Wednesday.
In addition, Treasury has mailed out roughly 150,000 checks worth about $442 million.
Processing of the payments began last Friday, the day after Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which authorized direct payments of up to $1,400 to qualifying individuals.
Treasury said the first batch of payments went to eligible taxpayers who provided direct-deposit information on their 2019 or 2020 tax returns. Included were people who don't typically file a return but who used a non-filers tool at IRS.gov last year to be included in two earlier rounds of COVID-19 relief payments.
Officials said additional batches of payments will be sent in coming weeks by direct deposit and through the mail as a check or debit card.
No action is needed by most taxpayers to receive the payments, which will be automatic and similar to how people received their first and second round of economic impact payments in 2020.
The payments, which are being made to cushion the blow from the coronvirus pandemic, started with $1,200 payments in the first round last spring and $600 payments in a second round of payments approved by Congress in December.
Over the weekend, the IRS re-launched the “Get My Payment” tool on the IRS.gov website to help Americas track their own payments.
'Payment status not available'
If you are getting "Payment Status Not Available" from the IRS stimulus check tracker -- don't be alarmed.
According to the IRS, if you receive that message it can mean one of three things:
- You are not eligible for the payment.
- The payment has yet to be processed
- The IRS doesn't have enough information to issue the payment to you
The agency said it will continue to issue the 2021 Economic Impact Payments throughout 2021.
NOTE: The IRS has asked the public NOT to call them to ask questions. All of the information about the stimulus checks are listed on the IRS website.
Am I eligible for the third stimulus check?
The American Rescue Plan provides households with $1,400 for each adult, child and adult dependent, such as college students or elderly relatives.
The payments start declining for an individual once adjusted gross income exceeds $75,000 and go to zero once income hits $80,000. The payment starts declining for married couples when income exceeds $150,000 and goes to zero at $160,000.
A qualifying family of four would receive $5,600.
Do college students, adult dependents get the third stimulus check?
Unlike the first and second rounds of checks, payments for dependents in the third round are not restricted to only children under 17.
According to the IRS website: "Eligible families will get a payment based on all of their qualifying dependents claimed on their return, including older relatives like college students, adults with disabilities, parents and grandparents."
Now it's important to note that if you're a dependent, the check won't go to you, it'll go to whoever claims you as a dependent.
When will SSI get their third stimulus check?
A date has yet to be set for when those receiving Social Security and other federal beneficiaries will get their money. Though the IRS has said those recipients will generally receive the third payment the same way as their regular benefits.
The IRS said if someone did not file a tax return and they receive SSA, RRB, SSI or VA benefits and their benefits are currently deposited to a Direct Express card, then the 2021 Economic Impact Payment will be deposited to that card.
How does the IRS know who gets a check?
The White House created a website to give an overview of what the American people need to know about the direct payments in the American Rescue Plan. Here's how it said checks are determined:
- For households who have already filed their income tax return for 2020, the IRS will use that information to determine eligibility and size of payments.
- For households that haven’t yet filed for 2020, the IRS will review records from 2019 to determine eligibility and size of payment. That includes those who used the “non-filer portal” for previous rounds of payments.
- For tax returns with direct deposit or bank account information, the IRS will be able to send money electronically. For those households for which Treasury cannot determine a bank account, paper checks or debit cards will be sent.
How to track your check?
The IRS claims that the first batch of payments will be sent via direct deposit.
The agency added that additional batches of payments will be sent in the coming weeks by direct deposit and through the mail as a check or debit card.
Can the $1,400 checks be seized by banks or creditors?
It depends on the type of debt that you have and who would be attempting to collect it. Like the previous rounds of stimulus checks, this aid can NOT be garnished by the federal government or the IRS. But it could be potentially garnished from private companies.
What if I didn't get the first and second stimulus payments?
The IRS said anyone who was eligible to get the first or second stimulus payments but didn't, needs to claim a 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit and file a 2020 tax return. Even if someone isn't required to file? The IRS says yes.
However, the IRS said that the third payment of $1,400 will not be used to calculate the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit.
Why $1,400 checks and not $2,000?
Biden's plan called for $1,400 checks for most Americans, which on top of the $600 provided in the Dec. 2020 relief plan would bring the total to the $2,000 that Biden called for.
This calculator can help determine how much you can expect from the third stimulus check.