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Here’s an easy way to find out how big your new stimulus check will be

Published Dec 30th, 2020 2:41PM EST
New stimulus check
Image: Jason Raff/Adobe
  • The federal government has begun the process of sending millions of Americans a new stimulus check for $600, or $1,200 for married couples.
  • The new stimulus checks have important income requirements to be aware of, now that Congress has passed and President Trump has signed the $900 billion COVID relief bill into law.
  • If you’re an individual who makes no more than $75,000, for example, you’ll get the full $600 new stimulus check amount.

Finally, after months of inaction and delay, the federal government has started the process of sending millions of Americans a new stimulus check. Granted, this new one for most people will be half the size of the one they got earlier this year — $600 checks, compared to the $1,200 stimulus checks made possible by the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that was passed back in March — but at least it’s something.

Set aside, at least for the moment, anything you’ve heard or read about the possibility that Congress might take action to bump up this new abysmally low stimulus check amount from $600 all the way up to $2,000. If you’re holding out hope that Congress might end up surprising you to the upside here, there are about a million reasons to be reminded of the fact that that way lies madness. For now, this is it. The coronavirus pandemic is an order of magnitude worse than it was back in March, yet our new stimulus checks will be half the size as the ones from before. Read on for an easy way to check and see how big your new check will be — if you’ll get the full amount, in other words, or if you’ll be subject to a phaseout because of your annual income.

When Congress passed the $900 billion COVID relief bill last week that makes these new $600 stimulus checks possible, lawmakers kept the rough payment framework that was included in the CARES Act — but changed up the income requirements ever so slightly. Here’s what you need to know:

The size of your new stimulus check depends on your income from 2019.

You’ll get the full amount in your new stimulus check if you make $75,000 a year or less. For single parents, the upper income limit is no more than $112,500 a year, while married couples can make up to $150,000 a year to get the full payment.

Your stimulus check amount will phase out, meaning you only get a partial amount, depending on how much you make above those amounts — and you’ll get absolutely nothing if your income is above the following amounts: For individuals, your new stimulus check phases out to zero if you make at least $87,000 a year. Single parents, your stimulus check phases out to zero if you make at least $124,500 in annual income, while for married couples the amount is $174,000.

As we noted Tuesday evening, most of the new stimulus checks will be direct deposited into individuals’ bank accounts. That process has already begun, with checks showing up now and into next week. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said paper versions of the new stimulus checks (for people who haven’t given the IRS their banking information) will be mailed out starting today.

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.