Every major stimulus check difference between the $1,400, $600 and $1,200 payments

March 6, 2021 0 By boss

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The three stimulus checks follow different paths.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The differences of the third stimulus check compared to the first and second payments are finally being revealed, as the Senate votes on changes to the contents of the $1.9 trillion relief package. Considerable changes up to this point have included altering who’s eligible for a stimulus check by lowering the income limits for a third payment, which sits at $1,400 per person

The third stimulus check would look significantly different from the first $1,200 and second $600 payments if the Senate amendments become final. (See our chart below for more details.) Also, when you could get the $1,400 payment for yourself and dependents could be delayed, pending details and changes to the third check’s income limits. (Here’s how you could get $1,100 more if you had a baby in 2020.) 

As with the first and second checks, anything could change between now and when the Senate concludes voting. For now, we can use the current version of the bill to determine where the lawmakers see the next stimulus payment going, and how the three checks stack up. This story was recently updated. 


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What the differences between the 3 stimulus checks mean for you

With each round of stimulus payments, the House and Senate have reworked the payment amount and eligibility guidelines. While we know most of the proposed details of the third stimulus check — and they could change up to when the bill becomes law — there is one wild card. 

The IRS is in the middle of tax-filing season, so it’s unclear if the agency may not be able to turn around these third payments in a few days, as it did the second stimulus payments, or if there could be a delay in sending out the payments.

As the Senate works to complete its version of the bill this week, Democrats are looking to lower the income limit, the cutoff to receive a payment. That means some individuals and families could quickly phase out of receiving money with this round, even if they have dependents.

Three stimulus checks, compared

Third check (in the works) 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 $100,000, or $80,000 if Senate changes $87,000 $100,000
Head of household upper limit $150,000, or $120,000 if Senate changes $124,500 $146,000
Filing jointly upper limit $200,000, or $160,000 if Senate changes $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

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 and how to track your tax refund online.

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