As millions of Americans wait to hear about the status of the third stimulus check, there is a chance that many people could receive substantially more money with the third round of checks and that we might see expanded eligibility.
There also is a chance that some people might see the amount they are eligible for decrease depending on their status.
Below, I’ll break down a few different ways that the next round of stimulus payments could differ from what we have seen so far.
The amount of the checks
First, we still don’t know if the third round of stimulus checks would contain a $1,400 check or $2,000 check.
The initial push from lawmakers was for $2,000 checks but since $600 payments have gone out already, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them settle for $1,400 checks next.
With that said, $2,000 payments are definitely still on the table based on what some Democrats have hinted.
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Payments to families
One area where we could see a dramatic increase is when it comes to payments to families.
The first round of stimulus payments offered families an extra $500 for each dependent child that was 16 years or younger. And for the second round, this amount was increased to $600.
There is reason to speculate that this amount could greatly increase with the third round of stimulus payments.
This is because the HEROES Act, which was passed by the House back in May, would have upped the amount to $1,200 per dependent.
And the CASH Act, which was passed by the House in December, would have increased it from $600 to $2,000.
If we see these dramatic increases, they will probably come along with caps that limit the payments to something like three dependents. But even with those caps, that’s still a significant increase.
Not only that but Democrats have tried to expand the eligibility of dependents to those older than 16 so that college students and elderly parents could be eligible.
Based on some of the opposition that we have heard, it’s possible that lawmakers will have to create a more tailored approach for the third stimulus check.
The most obvious way this would be done is by decreasing the income threshold for when payments begin to phase out.
Right now, if you are an individual, you should receive the full payment if you have an adjusted gross income under $75,000. If you are a married couple filing jointly, then your income can be up to $150,000.
If the lawmakers in favor of a targeted approach gain momentum, you can probably expect these income figures to drop. Or if the income cut off’s don’t change, the phase out rate could be more aggressive.
We’ve heard lawmakers discuss the possibility of sending out monthly payments to Americans.
These have come in different forms but proposals have included direct payments of $2,000 a month for up to one year or to when the pandemic ends.
Even with Democrats now controlling all branches of government I don’t think these monthly payments will pass because they are just simply too expensive.
The only way I could see them getting through as if they were extremely targeted and only went out for a small minority of people.
In the coming weeks, we will likely hear more about this option but I personally would not get too excited about it. It just doesn’t seem very realistic.
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2020 tax returns
It’s possible that your next stimulus check could be based on your 2020 tax return, assuming you file it in time.
This means that if your income increased and you would like to stay eligible, you may want to hold off on filing your 2020 income tax.
At the same time, if your 2019 income was much higher than your 2020 income then you may want to file your 2020 taxes as soon as possible.
Of course, you should always consult with a tax professional to make sure you are making the best move.
Social Security numbers
Right now, it is required for you to have a Social Security number in order to receive a stimulus check. But that is one requirement that Democrats have been trying to change and so it is possible that with this third round, you may not need a Social Security number.
As you can see, there are ways that stimulus payments could go up or down depending on your status.
But overall, it seems there are more ways that eligibility could be expanded and that the payments could increase so that most Americans will benefit from changes that come with a third stimulus check.
We might know a lot more about the third round of stimulus checks this Thursday as Biden reveals details of his coronavirus relief plan.
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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.