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The most surprising development that we saw regarding stimulus checks recently was the possible introduction of a $40,000 income cap.
“I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “Many of them work in the hospitality industry… so that could well be a part of it.”
This income limit is reportedly now being given serious consideration by the Senate.
According to Jeff Stein, a White House economics reporter for The Washington Post, “Multiple sources say McConnell didn’t just throw out $40,000 as a cut-off haphazardly—consensus within GOP is moving that direction, which would sharply limit eligibility,”
This income limit is much lower than the threshold used for the first round of stimulus checks which allowed individuals to receive the full $1,200 when making up to $75,000 in income.
Therefore, if this new threshold is put into place, millions of Americans will not receive stimulus funds like they did with the first round.
There are a lot of valid concerns with this income cut off.
For example, the people who had their income decrease in 2020 but had higher income in 2019, will likely be SOL because their income reported on their 2019 taxes would be too high to qualify.
They would still likely receive a tax credit which they could benefit from next year but people in that situation need funds as soon as possible to cover necessities and bills.
Well, now we are starting to hear some pushback from Democrat lawmakers like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I think there are many families, depending on the size of the family, so many different things, that $40,000 would have to be explained, justified, the rest,” Pelosi stated. “But I think families making over $40,000 probably need assistance. Again, just depending on their family situation.”
So it’s starting to look like this income cap is going to be taken more seriously by the Senate and that challenges by Democrats may begin to mount.
A lot of people don’t think it is a good idea to have a universal cut off at $40,000.
Instead, a targeted approach that focuses on Americans who have lost income during the pandemic would be much better.
A recent Bankrate survey showed that 49% of US households have had their income cut during the pandemic.
You could imagine an individual that dropped from say $70,000 in income to $50,000 in income who is in serious need of some relief right now.
The issue with that is how do you verify and create a system that can efficiently distribute checks out to people in that situation?
It seems to me that it would take considerable resources from the government to create a system to tackle that in a short amount of time.
And you could imagine the people who would fraudulently try to become eligible.
I just don’t see how a system like that could be properly implemented in a short time span.
Overall, I hope that there is not a straight cut off at $40,000 because that will leave out millions of people out who need some help.
If there is a tiered system that starts reducing the payment amounts after $40,000, that would make more sense but we will see what they come up with.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.