The Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill Wednesday that aims to put cash in people's pockets amid a global pandemic that's quickly evolving into a serious economic crisis. But who will qualify for a coronavirus check? The truth is, not everyone and it may be weeks until anyone actually sees a stimulus payment.
With the continued spread of the novel coronavirus forcing many nonessential businesses to close their doors, millions have found themselves laid off or living on reduced income. According to data released Thursday by the Department of Labor, a record-breaking 3.28 million workers filed unemployment claims between March 15 and 21, ABC News reported.
In an effort to provide some form of financial help, the Senate has made one-time direct cash payments to U.S. residents a key component in their emergency coronavirus relief bill. Although the bill still has to be passed by the House before it can be considered law, the chamber is expected to quickly approve the measure.
So, Who Is Eligible For A Coronavirus Check?
According to a PDF of the legislation CNN published, individuals who made less than $99,000 in 2019 are eligible. The income threshold jumps to $198,000 for married couples filing jointly. Parents with children under the age of 18 can also expect to receive additional money for each child. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to receive a stimulus check, although you do need to have a valid Social Security number.
While the government will use information pulled from 2018 and 2019 tax returns to determine eligibility, NBC News has reported that even those who didn't make enough money to file returns for those years are likely eligible to receive a payment. Folks on Social Security who receive Form SSA-1099, for example, are eligible. Disabled veterans are also reportedly eligible even if they have not filed returns.
Unfortunately, the bill does not deem people who earned more than the set threshold in 2019 but now find themselves unemployed due to coronavirus to be eligible for stimulus checks.
How Much Money Can You Expect?
How much you receive in your coronavirus stimulus check depends on how much you earned in 2019.
- Individuals who earned less than $75,000 can expect to receive the full $1,200 payment.
- For couples who filed jointly and pulled in less than $150,000, each partner is eligible to receive a full check, for a combined total of $2,400.
- Individuals who filed their return as "head of household" and made under $112,501 are also eligible to receive the full $1,200.
- Parents will reportedly receive an additional $500 for every child they have.
- Individuals who make over $75,000 but under $99,000 will see their stimulus checks reduced $5 for every $100 they made beyond the $75,000 threshold. That means someone who pulled in $85,000 will receive $450 and someone who earned $90,000 will get just $200.
You can calculate the estimated amount for your stimulus check using The Washington Post's coronavirus stimulus check calculator.
When & How Will The Money Get To Me?
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that people can expect to begin receiving coronavirus stimulus checks within three weeks of the bill being passed, CNBC reported. It is expected that eligible people who've already filed returns for 2019 or 2018, meaning the IRS already has their information on file, will likely receive checks first.
According to The Hill, the IRS will send funds to people via direct deposits if recipients have previously authorized tax refunds to be delivered that way. Otherwise, eligible recipients should look for checks in the mail — but be warned that those could take months to arrive. Those who may have moved since they last filed a tax return should seek to update their address with the IRS as soon as possible.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.