By Justin Issleib | Apr. 16, 2021 2:45 p.m.
The $1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus relief package, named the American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Joe Biden and is his first legislation as President of the United States. It has been titled the “American Rescue Plan.” Now that this package has been signed into law, $1,400 stimulus checks have begun going out to Americans and have already been directly deposited into bank accounts, said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday, March 11th.
Paper checks are being sent out to Americans as well. The $1,400 stimulus checks come with a cap. Individuals on a single income are eligible to receive $1,400, while married couples on a joint income are eligible for $2,800. A significant change in this bill is that the stimulus checks have also been sent out to dependents that are claimed on family’s tax returns. Therefore, this includes adult dependents, which are defined as college students and older family members. In the last two covid relief bills, only children under the age of 17 qualified for stimulus checks.
The stimulus checks also have different qualifications, and people who got stimulus checks the last two times, may not qualify for them this time around. For individuals that file their tax returns on a single income or for married couples that file separately making up to $75,000 are eligible for a stimulus check.
Those that file as head of household and earn up to $112,500 get a stimulus check. For married couples that file their taxes jointly or for those that qualify as a widow or a widower and making up to $150,000 will receive a stimulus check. These numbers are based on gross income. Once these thresholds are met, taxpayers are eligible to receive reduced amounts of the stimulus checks. But for those making up to the mentioned amounts, the stimulus checks phase out entirely. Individuals making up to $80,000 or more, taxpayers filing as heads of households that make up to $120,000 or more, and married couples who file jointly or those who qualify as a widow or a widower making up to $160,000 or more will not receive a stimulus check. Individuals making under these amounts will receive a stimulus check.
The bill also provides $300 a week in unemployment benefits through September 6th. The bill expands the annual tax child credit to $3,600 for children up to age 5 and children age 6 to 17 will receive $3,000. A major provision that was originally included that did not end up passing in the Senate but did pass in the original bill when voted on in the House of Representatives was a provision to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The provision was left out of the bill after the Senate Parliamentarian said it violated Senate rules that allowed the bill to bypass the 60-vote threshold. Democrats said that they will bring the provision of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in a separate bill soon.
In addition to the stimulus checks and child tax credits, the bill provides $14 billion for vaccine distribution and $49 billion will go to improving Covid-19 testing, contact tracing and PPE (personal protective equipment). The bill also includes $125 billion that goes to K-12 schools while $40 billion will go to higher education. It also provides $39 billion in grants for childcare, $25 billion will go to rental assistance and $30 billion will go to improvements in public transit.
President Biden has said that the bill is “one more giant step forward” which delivers on his promise that,” help is on the way”, explaining the direct financial assistance that is going to Americans. “This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country”, Biden said. “And giving people in this nation, working people, middle-class folks, the people who built this country, a fighting chance”.