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Some of you won’t be getting $1,400 stimulus checks – here’s what we know

Published Feb 17th, 2021 2:41PM EST
New stimulus check
Image: methaphum/Adobe
  • We’re getting closer to Congress’ passage of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which includes funding to send millions of Americans a new stimulus check.
  • The final language of the stimulus bill is still being worked out, but we already have a good idea of how the new $1,400 stimulus checks will be calculated.
  • Read on for some of the factors that will determine how big your next stimulus check will be.

At a CNN town hall event on Tuesday night, President Biden doubled down on how crucial it is for Congress to pass his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan soon, which would provide millions of Americans with a new stimulus check, among other things.

“Now is the time we should be spending,” Biden said. “Now is the time to go big.” His point being, with millions of people out of work and still struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, that lawmakers should resist watering down his proposal or balking at the price tag — while many Americans watch in frustration, wondering what’s taking so long to receive the $1,400 stimulus check they’ve been promised. Indeed, countless cynical, tongue-in-cheek postings can be found on Twitter right now lamenting the fact that President Trump gave more in direct coronavirus relief payments to Americans than President Biden has so far ($1,800, compared to $0), and those tweets certainly have a point.

With Democrats in control of the House and Senate, though, that relief will come, and it will come soon especially with the Trump impeachment trial now finished. For those of you wanting to know how big your next stimulus check will be — this will be the third one, following the distribution of two checks from the Trump administration — read on for the details.

First, and most important, here’s what we know in terms of the variables that will determine the size of your stimulus check. There are four big ones:

  • Your income — more specifically, your adjusted gross income from your 2020 tax return if you’ve already filed it, or your 2019 AGI.
  • The number of dependents you can claim on your tax return.
  • Where lawmakers will draw the upper limit income line, at which a phasing out of the full stimulus check amount would begin.
  • And the reduction rate — in other words, how much the stimulus amount would phase out, the higher you go above that upper income line.

The final stimulus bill language is still being worked out by Congress, but let’s talk about what’s been proposed first for the income limits.

As long as you make less than $75,000 if you’re a single taxpayer, $112,500 if you’re a head of the household, or $150,000 for married couples, you’d get the full $1,400 stimulus check (and x 2 for married couples, so $2,800 in total there). You would be disqualified from receiving the payment, however, if you’re a single taxpayer who makes $100,000, or $150,000 for a head of household and $200,000 for married couples.

Now, let’s move to dependents. The latest proposal from the White House would pay $1,400 for any dependent, meaning a family of four could receive $5,600 ($2,800 for the parents’ two $1,400 checks, plus an additional $2,800 for the two dependents).

We’ve noted previously that the current estimate is for stimulus checks to start arriving at some point in March. One additional point that is in the latest proposal, and we’ll have to wait and see if this becomes final, it seems a big change is coming for higher-earners this time around. With the previous stimulus checks, higher earners could still get at least a partial payment, especially if they have dependents. But this time around, the Biden administration seems to want to slam the door completely shut, so that if a higher earner exceeds the upper income limit this time, they won’t get a check at all.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.