U.S. lawmakers have now approved a measure to send direct payments to Americans as a part of the coronavirus relief package, but it may take a while for the money to arrive. The process will be complicated, but the U.S. government is doing everything it can to put cash in people's hands as soon as possible. Here is how the money will be dolled out in the weeks to come.
The first people to get their stimulus checks will be those who already have direct deposit information on file with the IRS, according to a report by CNN. The Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin said that those payments would go out within two weeks at the White House coronavirus press briefing on Thursday. Mnuchin also said that there would soon be a web portal for Americans to provide their financial information to the government, so that they could get their payments electronically as well.
"I am assuring the American public, they need the money now," Mnuchin said. These direct deposits will be the fastest way to get the money immediately. Anyone who does not provide their bank information will have to wait for a check in the mail, which could take many weeks or even months to arrive, according to CNN. The Trump administration warned lawmakers that it make them up to 20 weeks to distribute all of the stimulus payments.
Stimulus payments like this have been sent out to Americans before, both in 2001 and in 2008. In those instances, a mixture of direct deposit and checks by mail were used, but now with mobile payment services like Venmo available, lawmakers are hoping to streamline the process.
Mnuchin said that the IRS will use people's most recent tax return to calculate the amount of their payment. They will not tax the payments, however — not even for those that owe back taxes. Meanwhile, a web-based app for providing new direct deposit information to the government is reportedly on the way.
Each individual could be paid up to $1,200 with this stimulus check, and each couple up to $2,400. In addition, families will be given an additional $500 for each of their children. However, the payments will start to decrease for those who have an adjusted gross income of more than $75,000. The amount will reportedly drop by $5 for each additional $100 of adjusted gross income, meaning that those making $99,000 per year or more will not receive anything from this package. For couples who file taxes together, the threshold is doubled.
To help speed the process along, the IRS urges all Americans to file their 2019 taxes, if they have not done so already. Other than that, people can either keep an eye out for the IRS' direct deposit portal, or for the payment to arrive in their accounts. For the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the CDC's website.