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Biden signs $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill

-Editorial

President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Thursday afternoon as Washington moves to send fresh aid this month.

With his signature, the president checks off his first priority in the White House. He also will give a primetime address Thursday describing how the country will proceed in fighting the virus a year after the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic.

The plan will send direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans, extend a $300 per week unemployment insurance boost until Sept. 6 and expand the child tax credit for a year. It will also put nearly $20 billion into Covid-19 vaccinations, $25 billion into rental and utility assistance, and $350 billion into a state, local, and tribal relief.

The Treasury and IRS are working to ensure that we will be able to start getting payments out this month. And the IRS and Bureau of the Fiscal Service are building on lessons learned from previous rounds of payments to increase the number of households that will get electronic payments, which are substantially faster than checks.

Here’s an overview of what the American people need to know about the direct payments in the American Rescue Plan:

  • For households who have already filed their income tax return for 2020, the IRS will use that information to determine eligibility and size of payments.
  • For households that haven’t yet filed for 2020, the IRS will review records from 2019 to determine eligibility and size of payment. That includes those who used the “non-filer portal” for previous rounds of payments.
  • For tax returns with direct deposit or bank account information, the IRS will be able to send money electronically. For those households for which Treasury cannot determine a bank account, paper checks or debit cards will be sent.

Here’s an example of what direct payments passed in the American Rescue Plan mean for a typical family of four – with parents making $75,000 a year combined, and with kids in school-aged 8 and 5:

  • Because of the President’s American Rescue Plan, that family of four will soon be getting $5,600 in direct payments, $1,400 for each parent and child.
  • Because of the expanded Child Tax Credit, they will also get $2,600 more in tax credits than before.

That’s $8,200 more in the pockets of this family as they try to weather this storm – on top of additional money in this bill to reopen schools safely, get shots in arms faster, and help those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

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