Republicans unveiled a package of bills aimed at helping American families weather the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, including plans for another round of direct payments to households.
The checks would largely follow the same guidelines as those issued under the CARES Act. The payments are $1,200 per adult for those with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000. The threshold for married couples is $150,000 – they are eligible for $2,400 and $500 per dependent.
The difference with this round of payments is that there will be no age cap on eligible dependents. While the CARES Act only allowed the additional $500 to be allocated for families with dependent children, now households will be able to claim the additional $500 for dependents of any age.
In order to receive the benefit, an individual must have a work-eligible Social Security number and he or she cannot be the dependent of another taxpayer.
The benefit phases out entirely for those earning more than $99,000, or $146,500 for heads of household with one child and $198,000 for joint filers without children.
Similar to the last round, the plan would allow the IRS to access 2018 or 2019 tax return filings to determine eligibility. Other individuals, like Social Security and Supplemental Security Income recipients, would be automatically sent checks.
However, the administration may still be missing information for some individuals who are not normally required to file a tax return and who are not eligible for some of the popular benefits programs. The IRS has asked these individuals to submit their information using its non-filers tool by Oct. 15 in order to receive their first payment by the end of this year.
The HEALS Act did clarify that some people are ineligible for the payments, including anyone who died prior to January 2020, anyone who is incarcerated at the time the payment is processed by the Treasury or anyone who is imprisoned for the duration of 2020.
The legislation also stipulates that rebates are not subject to administrative offset for past debts, with the exception of past-due child support. The cash is protected from bank garnishment or levy by private creditors or debt collectors, which would be applied retroactively to the CARES Act money.
In order for the bill to pass, Republicans must negotiate with Democrats and reach an agreement. It is not clear, however, that stimulus checks would be a point of contention between the two parties: Democrats in the House approved a bill in May that also included provisions for another round of $1,200 payments and $1,200 for dependents, as well.