Stimulus checks sent to over 156M Americans as part of Biden COVID relief bill

The IRS sent out a fourth batch of stimulus checks this week, delivering payments to another 25 million Americans as part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

In the span of about one month, the agency has disbursed an estimated 156 million payments, worth roughly $372 billion, according to a joint news release from the Treasury Department, IRS and Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

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The latest round, worth about $36 million, was sent mostly to low-income Americans who are not required to file tax returns, including 19 million checks for Social Security recipients. Another 3 million checks were issued to Supplemental Security Income recipients, while 85,000 went to Railroad Retirement board beneficiaries.

The latest round also included more than 1 million “plus-up” payments for Americans who are eligible for more money now that their 2020 tax returns have been processed.

Because the federal government calculated the original two cash payments, worth up to $1,200 and $600, based on either 2018 or 2019 tax returns, millions of taxpayers who lost their jobs, or saw their income reduced last year as a result of the pandemic qualified for a bigger check. That also includes Americans who had a child in 2020.

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Additional tranches of stimulus checks and “plus-ups” will be sent out on a weekly basis going forward, the IRS said.

Individuals who haven’t received their payment can check its status using the IRS’ Get My Payment tool. The first payments will go to Americans with direct deposit set up, according to previous IRS guidance. After that, the agency will mail paper checks and pre-paid debit cards to anyone who qualifies for the money.

The cash payments included in Biden’s stimulus bill are the largest yet, with some Americans eligible to receive up to $1,400. But like the previous rounds of checks – worth a respective $1,200 and $600 – some people will be excluded.

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Under the legislation, individuals with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less and couples with an adjusted gross income of $150,000 or less are eligible to receive a one-time payment of $1,400.

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Americans who earn more than the threshold will still receive a partial check. But payments are cut off for individuals who earn $80,000 a year or more and couples who earn $160,000 a year or more. For those filing as head of household, the phaseout begins at $112,500 and tapers off at $120,000.

The checks are directly tied to Americans’ latest processed tax returns, either from 2020 or 2019.

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