How Big Will Your Stimulus Check Be?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11559659e)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate Floor in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 16 December 2020.
SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock / SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The stimulus bills announced on Monday did not include checks, although many lawmakers — and Americans — wanted them included. Now, as Congress debates the stimulus package before the December 18 deadline, it seems clear that checks to taxpayers will be included. Now the question is, how much will they be, and who will get the full amount?

See: Refusing to Wait for Congress, These Cities and States Are Handing Out COVID-19 Relief
Find: The Stimulus Check Secret You Need to Know Before You File Your 2020 Taxes

Yesterday, the Commerce Department announced retail sales for November, which showed a decline of 1.1%, more than expected and leading to a downward revision in holiday sales expectations. Furthermore, the economy created fewer jobs in November than in the previous six months, also contrary to expectations, while jobless claims ballooned to their highest point since September.

In the first CARES act passed in the spring, taxpayers received checks of $1200, plus $500 per qualifying child under age 16, then reduced the amount based on Adjusted Gross Income.

Legislators are feeling pressure to keep the new stimulus cost below $1 trillion. The amounts discussed for the second check have varied from $300 to $1200, with the adjustment formulas for children and income also under discussion. No matter what the final amount is to make headlines, the amounts that people receive will likely be very different from what they received in May.

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CNET reports that adjustments are likely to be based on these factors:

  • The income level where benefits are reduced
  • The amount paid for children under age 16
  • The amount paid for children aged 16 – 24 who are listed as dependents

See: Basic Income: Could This Out-There Idea Get America Out of the COVID Crisis?
Find: Stimulus Negotiations Signal Unemployment Changes

  • Whether there will be a check for dependents other than children
  • Payments to non-citizens who are U.S. taxpayers
  • Payments to people who are incarcerated
  • Payments to families of people who died after filing their 2019 tax return

Most families will not know how much they will receive until after the holiday shopping season ends. It may be too late to boost December retail sales figures, but just in time for January clearance bargains.

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About the Author

Ann Logue is a writer specializing in business and finance. Her most recent book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide: Options Trading (Alpha 2016). She lives in Chicago.

How Big Will Your Stimulus Check Be?
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