Top US leaders agree that afor as much as — or — should come as quickly as possible. But it appears the White House and Democratic lawmakers are at odds on what that timeline looks like.
Reports have been swirling that Congress could split President Joe Biden’s smaller “skinny” bill now containing a and distribution, and the rest of the funding with a target date of passing in mid-March, after negotiations. But on Thursday, the White House press secretary spoke out against a split bill, backing one unified package.into two parts: a
The new week may bring some clarity, if the House of Representatives returns with the framework of a new stimulus bill — or two smaller ones. We show you what those potential dates could look like, depending on whether a check comes earlier or later. Then there’s the question of how quickly the IRS could get a third payment out the door, and what could happen if it arrives during. This story is frequently updated with new information.
The soonest a third stimulus check could arrive: Some dates
Let’s say for the sake of argument that (despite the White House’s statement this week) a smaller bill provides for a third stimulus check at breakneck speed, ahead of the, which begins Feb. 9. This isn’t likely to happen, but it helps illustrate the time pressure Congress would be under to act.
We compare that to some hypothetical dates we selected at random that fall into the mid-March timeframe we’ve been hearing about. The chart below illustrates the potential timelines for when the next stimulus check could be approved and arrive, based on how quickly the IRS sent the second stimulus payments. Note that checks for different payment groups (, and ) may arrive at different times. We’ll refresh these dates as the situation changes in Washington.
When could the next stimulus check hypothetically arrive?
|Smaller stimulus bill||Larger COVID-19 relief package|
|Stimulus check passes Congress||Feb. 4||March 22|
|Stimulus bill signed into law||Feb. 5||March 23|
|First direct deposit check sent||Feb. 8||March 24|
|First paper checks sent||Feb. 15||March 31|
|First EIP cards sent||Feb. 22||April 7|
|Claims for missing stimulus money open||March 22||May 3|
What’s the advantage of a stimulus check in a ‘skinny’ bill?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Jan. 21 that the House would be ready the week of Feb. 1 to take up President Joe Biden’s proposal, but didn’t say whether it would be big or small. There have been suggestions that House Democrats could first put forth a targeted, “skinny” bill on the table for stimulus checks and distribution, followed by a broader stimulus package by mid-March.
A smaller bill might face less opposition in anand allow the IRS to start sending out the next checks quicker. However, pressure to pass those measures could make a much larger package easier for opponents to swallow.
While Democrats rejected the idea of a standalone bill during negotiations for December’s package, there’s certainly precedent for a standalone bill of some sort in the House. The chamber passed the CASH Act on Dec. 28, 2020, a bill that would have amended the signed by Trump to of the to $2,000 instead — by replacing “$600” with “$2,000” on every mention and “$1,200” (the amount allotted to married couples) with “$4,000). It wasn’t taken up in the Senate before the new term began Jan. 3. Now, the White House is endorsing a unified bill.
How soon could the IRS send out a third stimulus check?
In under three weeks, the IRS and Treasury sent more than 100 million . That was a tremendously . In comparison, it took the IRS 19 days from the date the March 2019 stimulus bill passed to the day the first check was issued. Conversely, the Dec. 27 stimulus package gave the IRS just 17 days total, including weekends. (If you didn’t get yours, you have to .)
There was oneas a result of the IRS’ rush to get payments delivered, and people who didn’t get their payment may now have to . But the scenario suggests that if the protocols are in place, the IRS could theoretically ship out third stimulus checks within days and weeks, rather than weeks and months.
As an interesting data point, the IRS was able to process between 5 million and 7 million a week with the first stimulus check, according to a government report from June.
What would happen if a third check is approved during tax season?
Questions are already swirling around how the IRS and Treasury would handle a, and some of that could very well depend on timing.
Let’s say that a stimulus bill was to pass both chambers of Congress before Feb. 12, the day the IRS begins processing the first 2020 tax returns. Would they send a separate check or attempt to bundle them in with the Recovery Rebate Credit for missing money from the first two checks? Apart from the fact that Congress would have a very narrow window to pass the bill in this hypothetical scenario, the IRS would have very little time to process the third checks, or change their protocol to wrap the second into taxes.
Now, let’s say a bill passes in early March as part of an overarching COVID-19 relief bill and the checks begin shipping in mid-March. That scenario would still overlap with tax season by a month, before the April 15 tax deadline.
By that time, tens of millions of Americans may have already received their tax refunds, which could make it tricky for the IRS to straighten out or redact after issuing. Things could get complex whether the IRS would attempt to fold a third check delivery into the remaining tax cycle, or send a third check separately.
Is there a way to get my third stimulus check faster?
While we don’t know when or if a third stimulus check will arrive, there are, if it happens. For example, signing up for in your 2020 tax return would put you in the priority category for a third stimulus payment.
And if you’ve. Here are our other suggestions for people to . Note that, there could be some changes to qualifications that may not apply to a possible third stimulus check.
Would the IRS set another deadline for sending out the next stimulus payments?
The Jan. 15 deadline levied for the second stimulus check was written into the text of the bill without explanation. It isn’t immediately clear if the bill text would adopt another cutoff in the future, or if that was a one-time consideration that took into account the IRS’ overlapping duties to process stimulus checks and prepare for. Last year, the .
The two overlap with the second stimulus check in that anyone who didn’t receive all or part of their second payment must claim it as part of the IRS’— even if they have .
Could your priority group affect how quickly you might get a third check?
We noticed with the first check that the IRS seems to organize when payments go out into certain categories of people based on the method of payment — basically, payment groups. The second check seemed to have followed the same de-facto priority.
While we can’t say for certain what the IRS will do this time, the main payment groups have consisted of people who get their checks through(the largest group, and the quickest delivery), through in the mail and through . The cards are a method the IRS has told CNET gets payments out faster than physical checks, but which was also the last payment method to go out in both stimulus check rounds. It also requires that you activate a prepaid debit card.
The other groups that are loosely defined (by us) include social security beneficiaries, who received payments a different way the first time if they’re part of the, and people with more complex scenarios, which could lead to potential . People in have been an example, and so have , as well as those with more .
Is a third stimulus check guaranteed?
No. While it seems likely given the current discussions in Washington and Biden’s campaign promises around helping everyday Americans with a direct payment, whether a third stimulus check happens or not, and which form it could take, is up to Congress. The rest, for now, is the basis of today’s public conversations in government — and from those discussions we form educated guesses. There’s always a chance that a bill may pass one chamber and not the other, or fail entirely. For now, we watch and wait.