COVID-19

Many will see $1,400 COVID payments hit bank accounts today

David Brancaccio and Nova Safo Mar 17, 2021
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There was some initial confusion because the IRS said that it began processing payments on Friday. People were online on Monday wondering where their deposits were. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
COVID-19

Many will see $1,400 COVID payments hit bank accounts today

David Brancaccio and Nova Safo Mar 17, 2021
Heard on:
There was some initial confusion because the IRS said that it began processing payments on Friday. People were online on Monday wondering where their deposits were. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The first round of $1,400 checks are supposed to clear today for many Americans. Many, but not all.

Marketplace’s Nova Safo has some practical information about the money. The following is an edited transcript of his conversation with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio.

Nova Safo: This is the first wave of payments. Tens of millions of taxpayers will get them today if the IRS has their direct deposit information. The IRS says a “vast majority” of people will get their payments this way.

But it’s going to take a while to get to everyone who is eligible. Additional batches of payments go out in the coming weeks, either via direct deposit, by mailed check or debit card.

David Brancaccio: Given indications from the government, some were expecting access to the money before today. What accounts for the lost couple of days?

Safo: There was some initial confusion because the IRS said that it began processing payments on Friday. People were online on Monday wondering where their deposits were.

But big banks, notably Wells Fargo and Chase, said they were waiting for transfers — the actual cash from the government — which wouldn’t arrive until today.

Meanwhile, other institutions credited customers in advance. So, it depended on the bank.

Brancaccio: And what’s the cutoff for eligibility again?

Safo: The eligibility requirements are tighter this time around. Individual taxpayer income needs to be $75,000 or less, and that number is $150,000 or less for couples. That’s to get the full $1,400, and that’s the same as last time.

Payments shrink after that and are cut off completely at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for couples. That’s a bit lower than before.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

How long will it be until the economy is back to normal?

It feels like things are getting better, more and more people getting vaccinated, more businesses opening, but we’re not entirely out of the woods. To illustrate: two recent pieces of news from the Centers for Disease Control. Item 1: The CDC is extending its tenant eviction moratorium to June 30. Item 2: The cruise industry didn’t get what it wanted — restrictions on sailing from U.S. ports will stay in place until November. Very different issues with different stakes, but both point to the fact that the CDC thinks we still have a ways to go before the pandemic is over, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, who used to work at the CDC and now teaches at Boston College.

How are those COVID relief payments affecting consumers?

Payments started going out within days of President Joe Biden signing the American Rescue Plan, and that’s been a big shot in the arm for consumers, said John Leer at Morning Consult, which polls Americans every day. “Consumer confidence is really on a tear. They are growing more confident at a faster rate than they have following the prior two stimulus packages.” Leer said this time around the checks are bigger and they’re getting out faster. Now, rising confidence is likely to spark more consumer spending. But Lisa Rowan at Forbes Advisor said it’s not clear how much or how fast.

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