$1,400 stimulus check versus $600 and $1,200 checks: New important detail to know

March 9, 2021 0 By boss

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The three stimulus checks follow different paths.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The Senate passed the $1.9 trillion relief bill, but not without making some vital changes first. Before the third stimulus checks can be processed and sent out, the House must accept the new changes that could affect your $1,400 payment. President Joe Biden hopes the payments can be made starting this month.

If approved, this would be the third round of coronavirus relief checks issued by the federal government in one year. Each round has revealed different priorities for lawmakers, who’ve remained divided on every aspect of the checks, including whether they should exist. 

The new payment is more than twice as much as the second check per person and could also bring families more money in other ways. Oppositely, it also has the strictest income limits yet, resulting in fewer people qualifying for a check (here’s who would qualify.) Below, we compare the first $1,200 and second $600 payments to where the third check stands now, including a massive change to dependents. This story has been updated with new information. 


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Stimulus check differences and how they affect you

Each round of stimulus payments has varied on the maximum amount per person and how many people qualify to receive the check. The second check was the least generous on both counts, and took 9 months to become law. However, it also made some groups of people eligible who weren’t before, while sticking with the status quo on other provisions that more-progressive lawmakers wanted to revise. 

The new check would change the game again, becoming more generous in some spheres, as with dependents and families with mixed-status citizenship, while also finding its way to fewer people than perhaps even the second check — at least based on a new stimulus check formula.

Read on to see how the three checks stack up. For more information, here’s what you need to know about stimulus checks today, including how to claim any missing stimulus money on your 2020 tax return, how tax season affects the third check and how to track your tax refund online.

Three stimulus checks, compared

Third check (March 6 version) Second check First check
Maximum total (per adult) $1,400 $600 $1,200
Dependents (flat rate) $1,400 (any age) $600 (16 and younger) $500 (16 and younger)
Income to receive maximum amount Under: $75,000 (single); $112,500 (head of household); $150,000 (married) Under: $75,000 (single); $112,500 (head of household); $150,000 (married) Under: $75,000 (single); $112,500 (head of household); $150,000 (married)
Single taxpayer upper limit $80,000 $87,000 $100,000
Head of household upper limit $120,000 $124,500 $146,000
Filing jointly upper limit $160,000 $174,000 $198,000
Citizenship Mixed-status families, where one member has a Social Security number Citizens and noncitizens with a Social Security number Citizens and noncitizens with a Social Security number
Date approved By March 14 Dec. 27, 2020 March 27, 2020
First payments sent To be determined Dec. 29, 2020 April 13, 2020
Final payments issued Dec. 31, 2021 Feb. 16, 2021 Feb. 16, 2021
Number of payments made To be determined Over 147 million Over 160 million
Total dollar amount distributed To be determined $142 billion $270 billion

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