Here's How Income Limits Will Work for the Third Check

by Christy Bieber | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on Feb. 10, 2021

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A stimulus check from the U.S. Treasury on a computer keyboard.

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Will you be eligible for the third coronavirus stimulus payment based on your income?

This week, lawmakers took a crucial step forward in fulfilling their promise to deliver $1,400 stimulus checks to most Americans. President Joe Biden promised this money during his campaign, indicating it would combine with the recently-delivered $600 to provide $2,000 checks (which former President Donald Trump had proposed, but weren't signed into law).

The House Committee on Ways and Means has now drafted a legislative proposal that puts the president's plans into legislation that the full House of Representatives will soon vote on.

In the legislative proposal, they've kept the income limits to receive the full payment the same as with the first two checks. However, eligibility will phase out more quickly, and individuals with incomes above a certain threshold will not be eligible for payments at all.

If your income is below these limits, you'll receive the full payment

Based on the legislation the House Committee on Ways and Means has drafted, eligible individuals will receive the full payment of $1,400 per adult and per dependent if:

  • Income is $75,000 or below and they file as single
  • Income is $150,000 or below and they file as married filing jointly
  • Income is $112,500 or below and they file as heads of households

These are the same thresholds that applied under the CARES Act and to the second payment delivered by the December relief bill.

Some senators had proposed reducing the eligibility limits for the full check amount to $50,000 for singles and $100,000 for married couples, but Democrats in the House chose not to make that change to eligibility.

If your income is above these limits, you will not be eligible

Individuals with incomes above the $75,000, $112,500, and $150,000 limits will still be able to receive partial payments. However, the phase-out rules will be different this time than they were for the first two checks. Specifically, you will no longer be eligible for a payment with incomes above:

  • $100,000 for singles
  • $200,000 for couples
  • $150,000 for heads of households

Not only will you not receive your own payments, but you also will not get any money that would otherwise be owed for dependents if your income exceeds these limits.

This is a marked change, as past relief bills phased out eligibility at a rate of $5 per $100 over the income limits. That meant families with very high incomes could still receive some stimulus funds, especially if they had a number of dependents. For example, under the CARES Act, which provided $1,200 per adult and $500 per dependent, a married couple with three children received some stimulus funds with an income up to $228,000.

These tighter restrictions are the result of lobbying on the part of moderate lawmakers who had expressed concern about families earning $300,000 or more still receiving help from the government.

Will you get your stimulus check soon?

With the House drafting legislation, lawmakers are moving quickly to deliver money to your bank account. Both the House and Senate still need to actually pass legislation, though, which will take time.

And it's not a sure thing yet that the bill will pass as drafted because Republicans aren't on board with Biden's proposal. Since Democrats have very tight margins in Congress, they can't afford to lose many votes in the House or any in the Senate.

Still, this is a major priority for the new administration, and it's very likely that they'll be able to fulfill it soon. So, if your income is below these thresholds, it's highly likely a check will be on the way in the coming weeks.

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