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What's the status on the stimulus check timeline now? How the schedule could change

   March 3, 2021 11:22 PM
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by Jessica Dolcourt

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FINANCE Relief Bill
The Senate is a whole new ball game when it comes to the IRS sending your next payment, especially if the terms of the stimulus check winds up being renegotiated. Here's what could throw a wrench in the schedule. The terms of the $1,400 stimulus check could soon be back under discussion, changing the face of the third stimulus check, as well as other parts of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. The Senate could start debating amendments to the bill, as soon as Wednesday, on everything from the contentious $15 minimum wage hike and the weekly amount and length of funding the federal unemployment insurance. Any delay during this process could also hold up your payment.

Amendments to the current American Rescue Plan that passed the House last week could include further targeting the stimulus check (some are calling for recurring payments in a future bill). If top Democratic leaders like President Joe Biden can't unify the slim majority fast, the debate could drag on. Even if the bill passes as projected, the third stimulus check timing to arrive during tax season could complicate timing matters as well.

It doesn't help that the IRS would already have to apply a new stimulus check formula and set of qualifications to follow. In addition, the issue of priority payment groups means some may get their checks weeks before others, especially if there's a delay of any sort -- for example, if you recently moved. We mapped out possible dates you could expect the IRS to deliver the first wave of checks, the IRS deadline to send the last payment this time and more. By the way, here's every important difference between the $1,400, $600 and $1,200 checks and all the money you could get for child care and older adults. This story was updated with new information.

When the new check could come, why priority group matters Democrats, who hold the majority in Congress (by virtue of a Vice President Kamala Harris's tie-breaking vote in the Senate), have set a self-imposed deadline of March 14 to pass the final version of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill -- this is the date federal unemployment insurance for $300 a week expires. If the Senate makes substantial changes on the COVID-19 bill and passes it with amendments, it would go back to the House for another vote. What happens if the timeline slips a week as a result? We factor that in below.

Here's what also affects stimulus delivery dates. The IRS organized the first two payment rounds according to payment groups, with direct deposit recipients the first in line, followed by people receiving physical checks and then EIP cards. Using the timeline from the second payment, we can take an educated guess as to when the IRS could start sending the first checks for each group.

Complicating matters, the IRS is also dealing with tax returns at the same -- more on that below. Keep in mind, it could take weeks for the IRS to process every group's funds, so consider the possible dates below as just a starting point. We refresh this timeline as the situation evolves.Will the IRS have a cutoff for sending new stimulus checks? We think we know what it is The Jan. 15 deadline for the second stimulus check approved in December was written into the text of the bill without explanation. Anyone who didn't receive all or part of their second payment must claim it as part of the IRS' Recovery Rebate Credit on their tax return to get the funds owed -- even if they have non-filer status and aren't typically required to file taxes.

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