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Everything you need to know about ‘plus-up’ stimulus check payments

Published Apr 13th, 2021 3:03PM EDT
Stimulus check update
Image: WINDSONG/Adobe

The US Treasury Department said a few days ago that more than 156 million stimulus checks have been issued in the wake of President Biden signing the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief legislation back on March 11 — and payments are still being sent out on a weekly basis.

As we’ve noted in more than one stimulus check update now, this round of $1,400 stimulus checks will probably be the last direct payment of this kind to American taxpayers for a while and maybe for good. Notwithstanding a call for more direct aid to Americans from Democratic and especially progressive lawmakers in both the US House of Representatives and the Senate, President Biden has already targeted other major legislative priorities that he’d like to work toward, including a comprehensive investment in improving and modernizing the nation’s infrastructure. This means that it’s all but certain he won’t have the political capital to spend on a push for more stimulus checks.

Having said that, we’re going to take this opportunity to stop for a moment and answer a few questions people might still have at this point of the stimulus check disbursement process. Such as, just to dive right in:

When will I get my “plus-up” payment?

A week or so ago, the IRS started sending out so-called “plus-up” payments to a few million taxpayers. Basically, these include “the first of ongoing supplemental payments for people who earlier in March received payments based on their 2019 tax returns but are eligible for a new or larger payment based on their recently processed 2020 tax returns.” The plus-up payments could also include a situation where a person’s income slipped in 2020 compared to 2019, or a person had a new child or dependent listed on their 2020 tax return, among other situations.

These payments will continue to be sent out on a weekly basis going forward.

Who qualifies for the new, third stimulus check for $1,400?

Those of you who haven’t yet received your new payment, for whatever reason, might be wondering this and hoping that one is coming soon for you.

Basically, these payments generally start at $1,400 for an eligible individual making up to $75,000/year and $2,800 for married couples who file joint tax returns and make up to $150,000/year. Having a dependent child can tack on an extra $1,400 each to these checks. When the incomes go above those thresholds, the payments decline on a sliding scale, and they zero out for individuals making above $80,000 and married couples who make more than $160,000.

What are your options if you never received a stimulus check last year?

As we noted in a previous post, the IRS says that anyone who didn’t receive a first or second stimulus check from 2020, or who got stimulus checks for amounts less than they should have, may be eligible for something called the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit. Those first two checks were essentially advance payments of the credit that you can receive in full by filing a 2020 federal tax return — which is another way of saying that the credit is a way to fix any error on the back end in people’s stimulus check disbursements. We walk through how to claim the credit in this post, which you’ll want to check out.

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.