The federal government will begin distributing $1,400 direct payments to eligible Americans as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan as soon as this weekend, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
“People can expect to start seeing direct deposits hit their bank accounts as early as this weekend,” she told reporters on Thursday, moments after President Joe Biden signed the historic Covid-19 relief package into law.
“This is of course just the first wave,” she said. “Payments to eligible Americans will continue over the next several weeks.”
Mr Biden’s signing ceremony for the new law arrives on the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organisation’s declaration of the Covid-19 crisis as a global pandemic, as the nation’s death toll climbs to more than 520,000 American lives lost within a year.
“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation –working people, middle class folks, the people who build the country – a fighting chance,” he said from the Oval Office on Thursday before signing the legislation.
“That’s what the essence of it is,” he said.
Americans with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000 for individuals, or $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly, are eligible for the full $1,400 stimulus checks.
The payments will be gradually phased out for people who have reported earning more than those thresholds, based on their most recent tax filings. Payments are capped entirely at $80,000, or heads of household who earned $120,000 and married couples who earned up $160,000.
Unlike former president Donald Trump, the president said his signature will not appear on the checks.
Payments are handled by the IRS. Within two days after the second coronavirus stimulus package was signed into law in December, the agency began distributing those $600 payments to eligible Americans.
As with previous rounds, payments will be sent via direct deposit, a mailed check or prepaid debit card.
The American Rescue Plan extends a pandemic-era federal unemployment programme that gives laid-off Americans $300 per week in addition to their state unemployment aid.
It also bakes into the US tax code an expanded child tax credit for families and sinks billions of dollars into public nutritional programmes, Covid-19 testing facilities, and the nationwide vaccine distribution effort.
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