The Treasury and IRS announcements make a sidelong reference to the fight for $2,000 direct checks.
Now that President Donald Trump has signed a $900 billion relief package authorizing a new round of direct payments, the new question for many is when they will receive the $600 checks.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said late Tuesday that direct deposits will begin tonight, and paper checks will start being mailed Wednesday.
The Internal Revenue Service will distribute the $600 checks for every eligible man, woman and child, and people can check the website IRS.gov/GetMyPayment to see the status of their payment.
The portal is temporarily offline, but starting later this week, people can start logging onto it to find out the status of their money, a Treasury announcement said.
The same announcement makes a sidelong reference to the ongoing fight for $2,000 direct checks instead of the incoming $600 payments.
“This second round of payments will be distributed automatically, with no action required for eligible individuals. If additional legislation is enacted to provide for an increased amount, Economic Impact Payments that have been issued will be topped up as quickly as possible,” the announcement said.
The Senate adjourned Tuesday without taking up a bill that passed the House on Monday boosting the payments to $2,000. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted he might tie the bigger checks to other issues, like a repeal of liability protections for social-media platforms.
A growing number of Senate Republicans say they support $2,000 direct checks, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, two Georgia lawmakers running for re-election in the Jan. 5 runoff that will decide the balance of the Senate.
When the IRS sent out more than 160 million payments totaling more than $270 billion in the first round of stimulus payments, the agency invented the proverbial wheel that will make distribution roll quickly this time, said Pete Sepp, the president of the National Taxpayers Union, a right-leaning think tank.
“The infrastructure has been set up for this distribution method and has been tested already,” he said.
What the News Means for You and Your Moneyy.
The IRS said Tuesday night that most people would be getting their payments via direct deposit. People who were paid in the first batch of $1,200 checks and don’t get their $600 check via direct deposit “will generally receive a check or, in some instances, a debit card,” the IRS added.
“Some people who received a paper check last time might receive a debit card this time, and some people who received a debit card last time may receive a paper check,” the IRS said.
Meanwhile, “for Social Security and other beneficiaries who received the first round of payments via Direct Express, they will receive this second payment the same way,” the agency said.
The payments are also automatic who anyone who signed up for the first round of checks by using the IRS’ non-filer tool.
The IRS announcement also tried to head off confusion after some people over the summer tossed their $1,200 loaded on to debit cards, thinking the cards were junk mail.
The pre-paid cards will come in white envelopes that “prominently displays the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal,” the IRS said. The card will bear the Visa name on the front and the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank, will be on the card’s back. Information included with the card will explain that this is your Economic Impact Payment. There’s more information on the pre-paid cards here.
A growing number of Senate Republicans say they support $2,000 direct checks, including Sens. Marco Rubio, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
When congressional leaders announced a deal on Dec. 20, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the next day on CNBC that “people are going to see this money at the beginning of next week. It’s very fast.”
But then Trump suggested he might not sign the bill, calling for $2,000 checks instead. He ultimately put his signature on the bill Sunday night.
Trump signed the bill, which devotes $166 billion to direct payments, on Sunday.
Most of the rules surrounding the first $1,200 checks apply to the second round of $600 checks, though one difference is that the payment for child dependents has increased to $600 from $500.
Source: $600 stimulus checks are on the way — here’s what to expect next