It has been nearly a week since President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, approving a third round of stimulus checks for millions of eligible Americans. Right after he signed the bill, White House press secretary Jen Psaki revealed that some direct deposits would begin hitting bank accounts as early as the coming weekend, but for most people, the weekend came and went without any change in their account balance.
While the new round of $1,400 Economic Impact Payments did indeed begin trickling out on March 12th, the Internal Revenue Service announced last Friday via a news release that the official payment date for direct deposits would be Wednesday, March 17th. Some eligible Americans may have seen the money in their accounts before Wednesday as a pending or provisional statement, but Wednesday is the day the payments will go through.
“Even though the tax season is in full swing, IRS employees again worked around the clock to quickly deliver help to millions of Americans struggling to cope with this historic pandemic,” said a statement from IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig last Friday regarding the $1,400 stimulus payments. “The payments will be delivered automatically to taxpayers even as the IRS continues delivering regular tax refunds. We urge people to visit IRS.gov for the latest details on the stimulus payments, other new tax law provisions and tax season updates.”
If you are wondering why a select few Americans received their direct deposits early while millions more had to wait until March 17th, CNBC has a rather detailed explanation. As the site explains, the ACH (Automated Clearing House) Network processes large volumes of electronic payments for consumers, businesses, and governments in the United States. For every ACH transfer, there has to be a corresponding date, and the IRS picked March 17th.
“Regardless of when payment files were sent and received, settlement of the funds for the payments will occur at 8:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 17, exactly as instructed by the IRS,” Nacha (the National Automated Clearing House Association) explains on its website. “This is literally the moment in time when the money will be transferred from the government to banks’ and credit unions’ settlement accounts at the Federal Reserve. There is no mystery where the money is from the time the first payment file was transmitted on Friday, March 12 to when all recipients will have access to the money on Wednesday—it is still with the government.”
If you received $1,400 in your bank account before Wednesday, it means that your financial institution of choice opted to advance that money to you before it had actually received the funds from the government.
As for eligibility, not everyone who was expecting a third $1,400 stimulus check will receive one. Individuals earning $75,000 or less will receive the full $1,400, but the payments will now phase out entirely for anyone earning $80,000 or more. Similarly, married couples earning $150,000 or less will get the full amount, but those that earn $160,000 or more will not be eligible for the payments. This is one of the changes the Senate made to the bill.