Stimulus update: When to expect $600 checks and $300 enhanced unemployment payments


You can’t blame Americans for being eager to receive their stimulus money: With a weakening economic recovery and an out-of-control pandemic, the direct payments included in the $900 billion stimulus package signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20 are literally a lifeline for millions of Americans.

That $900 billion economic aid package set aside money to send most Americans a $600 stimulus check—down from the $1,200 checks sent by the CARES Act passed in March and less than the $2,000 sought by Congressional Democrats and later, President Trump. The bill also brings back weekly enhanced federal unemployment benefits for the more than 19 million Americans still on unemployment benefit rolls. These enhanced benefits will pay out $300 per week, on top of state benefits, for up to 11 weeks.

We know the aid is coming, but when? Here is Fortune‘s guide.

When to expect your $600 stimulus check

Americans started to receive their $1,200 stimulus checks two weeks after the signing of the CARES Act in March. But this go-around, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sped up the process and started to deposit $600 checks on Tuesday—just nine days after Trump signed the bill into law.

Taxpayers who have their direct deposit information on file with the IRS will receive their payments by direct deposit. The IRS started sending those direct deposits on Tuesday, and will continue to send those through next week.

The rest of eligible Americans and resident aliens will receive their checks by mail. Those checks started to mail out on Wednesday, but it’s unclear how long paper checks will take to arrive.

Who is eligible for the $600 checks?

The federal stimulus bill will send $600 checks to most adults, and $600 for each dependent child. However, the funds will phase out for people earning higher incomes. These stimulus checks will decrease for households with 2019 adjusted gross income—that is, federally taxable income—above $75,000 per individual or $150,000 per qualified couple. The checks completely phase out for individuals earning above $99,000, and joint filers with no children at $198,000.

You can find more details about your stimulus payment on this IRS portal.

When will $300 unemployment checks start going out?

The $300 enhanced unemployment checks will be issued for the week ended December 27 through the week ending March 13. But the timetable for when the $300 unemployment payments actually start to deposit will vary by state.

A few states, including New York and Minnesota, announced jobless residents on their unemployment rolls should start to get the $300 checks the week of Jan. 3, 2021. More states are expected to announce their timelines next week.

The good news? If states delay in sending out the $300 unemployment payments, the benefit will be back paid for the weeks ending between Dec. 27 and March 13. Americans who are eligible for the $300 enhanced unemployment benefits will eventually get it.

Who is eligible for the $300 checks?

The CARES Act, which was passed in March, expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits to include jobless part-timers, self-employed workers, freelancers, and independent contractors. These unemployed Americans covered through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, along with anyone on traditional state unemployment rolls, will automatically get the new $300 weekly federal benefit.

Those who qualify will get the additional $300 weekly, regardless of their previous wages. This is on top of their state unemployment insurance benefit. For example, a worker in New York who gets the maximum state benefit of $504 per week would receive a total of $804 per week.

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When will the $300 enhanced weekly unemployment benefits get issued?


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Thirteen states received approval this week to send out $300 per week in federal funds on top of their regular unemployment benefits. These enhanced benefits, created under a memorandum signed by President Trump, replace the $600 enhanced benefit that expired the week ended July 25.

Unemployed Americans have gone three benefit-check cycles without enhanced benefits, and around one in three has already cut household spending as a result, according to a Fortune–SurveyMonkey poll conducted between Aug. 17 and 18.

When should people expect these enhanced checks to actually hit their bank accounts? In the 13 states that have received federal approval, it should be this week or next. That’s the case for unemployed Arizonans, who received the $300 supplement payment on Monday for the week ended Aug. 15, on top of their state benefits. And Arizona state officials say the federal payment for the weeks ended Aug. 1 and Aug. 8 should come this week or next.

The $44 billion allocated by Trump for the enhanced unemployment benefit is expected to last five weeks, through the week ending Aug. 29, according to a report by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Trump pulled the $44 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) budget, and every day the agency announces the new states approved for the $300 weekly benefit. Fortune is tracking the list of approved states here.

But not every state will get the benefit. Among the states that won’t is South Dakota, which became the first state to turn down the offer, citing a strong economic rebound and no need for the additional aid. The June unemployment rate in South Dakota was 7.2%, compared with an 11.1% national jobless rate. FEMA has yet to announce the status of the remaining 38 states.

The White House has already made it clear the benefit will be paid retroactively to the week ended Aug. 1. And the $300 a week in enhanced benefits will go only to jobless Americans who are already receiving at least $100 in state benefits. That is a smaller pool of recipients than the one for the first round of enhanced checks, which wasn’t limited in this manner.

There still remains the possibility the memorandum could face a legal challenge, given that Trump bypassed Congress to pull the funding from FEMA to pay for the enhanced benefit.

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These are the states that accepted Trump’s offer for $300 enhanced unemployment benefits


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President Donald Trump signed a memorandum earlier this month that grants $300 enhanced weekly unemployment benefits to out-of-work if their state opts into the program.

As of Tuesday, seven states have been approved to send out $300 per week in federal funds on top of regular unemployment benefits, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

States that have been approved

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Utah

Meanwhile, South Dakota became the first state to turn down the offer, citing a strong economic rebound and no need for the additional aid. The June unemployment rate in South Dakota was 7.2%, compared a 11.1% national jobless rate. FEMA has yet to announce the status of the remaining 42 states.

The $300 weekly enhanced unemployment benefit replaces the $600 enhanced benefit that expired the week ending July 25. The White House opted to replace the $600 enhanced benefits through a memorandum after negations for a broad stimulus bill between Democratic and Republican leaders broke down earlier this month.

The $44 billion allocated by Trump for the enhanced unemployment benefit is estimated to last five weeks, through the week ending August 29, according to a report by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. And there still remains the possibility the memorandum will face a legal challenge.

The White House has already made it clear the benefit will be paid retroactive to the week ending August 1. And these $300 enhanced benefits will only go to jobless Americans who are already receiving at least $100 in state benefits. That is a smaller pool of recipients than the first round of enhanced checks, which weren’t limited in this manner.

Initially, Trump said he’d grant $400 enhanced weekly unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans if their state picked up $100 of the tab. But after that announcement, states made it clear they couldn’t afford to throw in more money. As a result, the White House allowed states to count $100 of existing benefits as their match to get the $300 weekly federal benefit. Thus the enhanced benefit is now $300 per week, not $400.

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Trump to sign an executive order to extend enhanced unemployments benefits as stimulus talks fall apart


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President Donald Trump announced Friday evening plans to sign an executive order to extend enhanced unemployments benefits—which expired the week of July 25—through the end of the year. Trump said he could sign it by the end of the week.

The president also said he’ll sign orders to extend the deferment for student loans and forgive student loan interest, extend eviction moratoriums, and defer some payroll taxes until the end of year.

This announcement came after negotiations on a broad stimulus bill between Democratic and Republican leaders broke down on Friday. That bill would have included a second round of stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, and a number of other measures to help Americans cope with the pandemic.

The enhanced unemployment benefits passed in the CARES Act, which ran out in late July, paid $600 per week onto of state unemployment benefits. Trump declined to say how much the benefit would payout weekly through his executive order.

It is likely that Trump’s executive order will face legal challenges. Democratic leaders this week said that Congress, not the President, has the constitutional power to control the purse strings of the federal government.

“Probably we’ll get sued,” Trump told reporters Friday when he announced the executive order.

It’s also unclear if this executive order would kill talks for another stimulus package, and thus a second round of stimulus checks. On Friday Democratic leaders offered to bring down their dollar ask on the broad stimulus package if Republicans similarly increased their offer.

“We reiterated in very strong terms our offer: We come down $1 trillion from our top number, which was $3.4 trillion, and they go up $1 trillion from their top number, which was $1 trillion. And that way we could begin to meet in the middle,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Friday.

White House officials balked at that Friday offer made by Democrats, citing their unease with sending more than a $1 trillion to state and local governments. Trump relayed that sentiment when he announced the executive order on Friday.

“They want to make up for many many years of bad [state] management,” Trump told reporters Friday when explaining why he won’t agree to the amount Democrats want for state and local governments.

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Second coronavirus stimulus: Stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment delayed further with Democrats and Republicans unable to compromise


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