White House Says First Stimulus Payments Will Hit Bank Accounts This Weekend

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Many people could get a windfall in a matter of days.

It was a big day on the coronavirus relief front. Earlier, President Joe Biden signed a sweeping $1.9 trillion aid proposal into law. That paves the way for a host of relief measures -- enhanced unemployment benefits, an expanded Child Tax Credit, health insurance subsidies, and a third round of stimulus payments, this time worth $1,400 apiece.

And the best news? Those payments could arrive really soon. White House press secretary Jen Psaki has just announced that Americans can expect to start seeing direct deposits hit their bank accounts as early as this weekend.

Of course, that's just the first wave of payments, and some direct deposits could show up later. Furthermore, those not eligible for direct deposit will need to wait a bit longer for their money, as the IRS can only issue so many physical checks at once. Those waiting on a stimulus by mail (either in check or debit card form) will, for the most part, need to sit tight until April, or possibly even May. But still, the fact that these payments are being expedited is very good news given the number of Americans who are desperate for money.

Who's getting a stimulus payment?

Not everyone who received a stimulus check during the last two rounds will get one this time around. The initial income thresholds for stimulus eligibility will be the same as they were previously, which means that individuals earning $75,000 or less and married couples earning $150,000 or less will be entitled to receive a stimulus in full. From there, however, those payments will begin to phase out, and they'll be cut off completely for individuals who earn $80,000 or more and couples who earn $160,000 or more.

All told, an estimated 12 million Americans who previously received a stimulus payment won't be eligible to collect one this time around. What that also means, however, is that most people who received stimulus funds previously will, in fact, be getting a third payment.

These stricter stimulus income thresholds were put into place more recently after Republican lawmakers urged the president to make this upcoming round of aid more targeted. Though many people who previously received stimulus funds used that money for non-negotiable household expenses like food and utilities, there were plenty of people who were able to use that money to pad their savings, invest, or shop for non-essentials. And while it's possible to make the case that pumping money into the economy is a good thing no matter what, some lawmakers didn't want to see that cash go into the hands of the relatively well-off. These lower income thresholds make it so that higher earners don't get a piece of this $1,400 round, thereby reserving that aid for those who need it the most.

When Biden took office, he made it clear that he wanted to send meaningful aid to the public within his first 100 days in office. Based on these timelines, it's clear that he's well on track to meet that goal -- and that's a good thing for the millions of Americans who are out of work or struggling financially as the pandemic continues to rage on.

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