Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a fresh round of $600 stimulus checks could start going out to Americans as soon as next week, much faster than the first batch of payments that Congress approved earlier this year.
“People are going to see this money [at] the beginning of next week,” he said during an interview with CNBC Monday morning. “Much needed relief — and just in time for the holidays.”
Congress reached an agreement Sunday night on a $900 billion COVID relief deal, the first substantial federal aid package since lawmakers passed the CARES Act in March.
If passed by the House and Senate on Monday as expected, the legislation would extend aid to millions of Americans still reeling from the pandemic by providing a fresh round of stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits and money for small businesses, as well as new funding for struggling industries, tax breaks, vaccine distribution and education and health care.
Lawmakers have not yet released the text of the legislation, but the stimulus checks are expected to follow the same eligibility formula as the first round –although they’ll be half the size of the $1,200 payments sent out earlier this year.
“The good news is this is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy. Let me emphasize: People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week,” Mnuchin said, adding: “People go out and spend this money, and that helps small business and that helps getting more people back to work. So it’s very fast, it’s money that gets recirculated in the economy.”
American adults who earn less than $75,000 will receive the full $600 check, while couples who earn less than $150,000 will receive $1,200. The payments will be tapered for higher earners (5% of the amount by which their adjusted gross incomes exceeded the initial threshold) and phased out completely for individuals who earn more than $99,000 and couples who earn more than $198,000. Dependents under the age of 17 are also eligible for $600 payments.
This means that a family of four could receive as much as $2,400.
A vast majority of Americans will not be required to take any action in order to receive the money. The IRS will use their 2019 tax return if filed or their 2018 return as an alternative.
One lingering question had been how long it would take the Treasury Department to distribute the money once the deal was finalized.
It took the government about two weeks after the passage of the CARES Act to begin sending out checks via direct deposit; almost two weeks after the $2.2 trillion package passed, the Treasury Department disbursed more than 81 million payments worth more than $147 billion, all through electronic transfers to recipients’ bank accounts, according to the Government Accountability Office.