Millions of Americans will receive direct payments from the federal government thanks to a $2 trillion federal funding package that was agreed to early Wednesday morning.
The bill, which could be signed by President Donald Trump later Wednesday, is in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered non-life sustaining businesses nationwide and led to thousands if not hundreds of thousands of new unemployment claims.
Here are the details you need to know about when, and how much, you might receive.
When will the money go out?
According to CNN, relief may still be a couple of months away, as the outlet reports that checks or direct deposits might not go out until May.
“First, the IRS will have to calculate each person’s payment amount,' CNN writes. “Then, it will need the correct direct deposit information or mailing addresses.
“To get the money to people who don’t usually file tax returns, it might have to request that information from the Social Security Administration or Veterans Affairs. In 2008, those people were required to file a return anyway in order to get their rebate.”
That, of course, will take time, and keep in mind that the IRS is still receiving tax filings, as well, even if the federal government and also Pennsylvania, among many other states, have pushed back the deadline to file.
For those looking for an optimistic timeline, mid-April seems to be the absolute earliest that checks could go out.
More: Pa. unemployment claims skyrocket to 540,000 since statewide coronavirus shutdown, shattering records
How much will I get?
Here is what the New York Times says:
“A $1,200 payment for each adult — and $500 per child — in households that earn up to $75,000 per year for individuals or $150,000 for couples. The assistance phases out for people who earn more.”
CNN has more details on what the phase-out threshold might look like.
“The payments would start to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000, and those making more than $99,000 would not qualify at all,” CNN writes. “The thresholds are doubled for couples.
“Qualifying income levels will be based on 2019 federal tax returns, if already filed, and otherwise on 2018 returns.”
What happened the last time this happened?
This package marks the third time since 2000 that the federal government has approved payments to citizens based on special circumstances.
As CNN notes, it took six weeks for checks to go out under a 2001 plan for tax rebates that were authorized by then-president George W. Bush. Checks during the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008 didn’t go out for three months, however.
Experts believe that an increase in electronic tax filing and the use of direct deposit for refunds could lead to expedited payments this time around, and those who have that set up are likely to receive their money faster than those who will be waiting on a check.
More: These central Pa. businesses are still open during the coronavirus pandemic
Where is the money coming from?
Syracuse.com has details:
“Taxes, essentially,” its Geoff Herbert writes.
“CNBC reports it’s unclear whether the money will be considered a loan or a gift, in which case some of it may have to be paid back.”
Why only one check?
Previous proposals that were discussed as the spread of COVID-19 continued to hurt the economy mentioned the possibility of two checks being sent out, but the agreement reached Wednesday calls for just one. It’s possible that a second round could go out, however, if schools and businesses must remain closed into the summer.
How will businesses be helped?
This part of the package is still being finalized, but Yahoo reports that the Small Business Administration will handle some requests while a new, still-to-be-named agency will handle others, likely for larger businesses and corporations. It was referred to as ‘a big credit facility’ by Pennsylvania senator Pat Toomey over the weekend.
“The facility will have two components: One will be administered by the Treasury Secretary with direct loans for a short list of “seriously distressed and absolutely essential companies,” likely including airlines,” Yahoo writes.
“The second component will be much bigger and be “a broad-based credit facility that will be available across categories, across sectors and industries.” Toomey said this program will give loans that will have to be repaid. “None of this is grant money,” he said.”
More of PennLive’s coronavirus coverage:
Why social distancing works, as demonstrated with Skittles
Pa. school districts prepare for possibility of students not returning to classrooms
Governors, still trying to flatten the coronavirus curve, balk at Trump’s Easter Sunday timeline
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