The government said on Wednesday that over 2.3 million new stimulus checks were handed out, totaling over $4.2 billion in payments, to Americans. Since Congress enacted the American Rescue Plan Act in March, more than 169 million payments totaling $395 billion have been made.
Individuals and families that fall below specified income limits and satisfy other conditions are eligible for payments of up to $1,400 per person, plus $1,400 per eligible child. Approximately 1.1 million of the new checks, worth more than $2.5 billion, were "plus-up" payments in this round, CNBC reported.
Individuals and families will be due new or higher payments when their 2020 tax returns have been completed. Over 8 million of these payments have been sent thus far. Additionally, more than 900,000 checks totaling $1.9 billion were distributed to those who had just filed tax returns with the IRS but whose information had not previously been recorded. More than 1.2 million direct deposit payments were sent in this round of payments, with the balance being delivered by paper checks.
Who will receive the 2.3 new stimulus checks?
Per CBS News, while the most recent stimulus payments started arriving in bank accounts in March, some recipients have had to wait weeks or months for their checks. Because the IRS was able to quickly verify eligibility based on income and decide where to mail or direct deposit the checks, it prioritized delivering payments to persons who had already filed their 2019 or 2020 tax returns.
Others, though, have had to wait for the IRS to process their payments, such as those who are not obliged to file tax returns or who have sought changes on their stimulus payments. Among the 2.3 million stimulus checks, people who had just filed a tax return and those whom the IRS did not have enough information to give the money are included in the 900,000 payments sent.
According to the IRS, another 1.1 million payments were for plus-up adjustments for recipients who were eligible for larger benefits based on recently submitted 2020 tax returns. The newest round of stimulus checks arrives as 25 states prepare to phase out enhanced unemployment benefits, slashing millions of jobless workers' weekly benefits to $300 only two months before federal funding ends.
The Century Foundation, a liberal think tank, said around one out of every four persons on unemployment will lose their benefits due to the early termination of unemployment benefits. Many families have continued to suffer financially after the pandemic, with the unemployment rate reaching 5 percent, which is still much higher than the pre-pandemic average of 3.5 percent. According to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of Census survey data from early May, a quarter of Americans struggled to pay their household bills in the preceding week.
Eligible but haven't received yours?
The IRS advises those who do not generally file tax returns to do so now so they may take advantage of the benefits they are entitled to, such as the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Earned Income Tax Credit. People who receive federal benefits, such as Social Security, should submit a 2020 tax return so that the IRS has the most up-to-date information, including information on eligible dependents, to make payments, as per Miami Herald.
People who are homeless or do not get federal assistance may still be eligible for stimulus checks, but they must submit a tax return to get funds, says the IRS.