Lawmakers struck a $2 trillion stimulus deal early Wednesday that includes sending checks directly to individuals amid the coronavirus crisis — but it will likely take until at least May before the money goes out.
President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are still pushing to get the direct payments issued by April 6, a White House official told CNN. The date was floated as a deadline earlier by Mnuchin during negotiations.
But experts say that target is overly ambitious. Under previous programs in 2001 and 2008, the government took longer than a month to distribute checks.
“It is extremely unlikely that people will get payments by April 6 — just two weeks from now,” said Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. “It is more realistic to expect them in a month or two.”
$1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for couples, $500 per child
Under the draft bill, single Americans would receive $1,200, married couples would get $2,400, and parents would see $500 for each child under age 17.
However, the payments would start to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000, and those making more than $99,000 would not qualify at all. The thresholds are doubled for couples.
About 90% of Americans would be eligible to receive full or partial payments, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center. Lawmakers set aside $250 billion for the so-called recovery rebates.
Qualifying income levels will be based on 2019 federal tax returns, if already filed, and otherwise on 2018 returns. (Mnuchin earlier this month delayed the filing deadline until July 15.)
There are provisions in the bill to include those who don’t earn enough to file returns, but some people may be missed, said Gleckman.