One thing that won’t be controversial as Republicans and Democrats fight over the next stimulus bill: a second round of $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks.
Despite previous rumors that Republicans would propose limiting payments to people earning less than $40,000 a year, both parties want income limits and phaseouts that are identical to the first round.
To recap, the limits for receiving the first stimulus payments were:
- $75,000 for single filers
- $150,000 for married couples
- $112,500 for heads of households
If your income exceeds these limits, your benefit would be reduced by 5 cents for every additional $1 of income.
What We Know About the HEALS Act So Far
Republican senators released their HEALS Act plan, which stands for Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools, on Monday night. The Democrat-led House of Representatives passed their own relief bill, the HEROES Act, in May, but the Republican-led Senate rejected it immediately.
The Republican plan calls for an additional $500 credit per dependent, regardless of age. The CARES Act limited the $500 dependent credit to children 16 and younger. Democrats wanted $1,200 for every individual, including children and adults who are claimed as dependents, with a cap of $6,000 per family.
Payments would be calculated using 2019 tax returns, but the IRS can use your 2018 return if they don’t have a 2019 return on file for you. The IRS is still working through a massive backlog of 2019 tax returns filed on paper, so using 2018 returns could be necessary for a lot of people.
So Are We Definitely Getting More Stimulus Checks?
Since Democrats and Republicans are in agreement on this issue, the odds are pretty good. But since stimulus checks are just one part of a broader relief bill that includes controversial issues, particularly expiring unemployment benefits, don’t count on them just yet.
Debate over the bill is expected to continue into August. But with Congress scheduled for a four-week recess beginning Aug. 10, the pressure is on to pass a bill quickly. Otherwise, lawmakers would have to push back passing additional relief until September or delay their recess.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advice column. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected]