When Will the Third Stimulus Check Arrive? $1,400 Payment Inches Forward in Senate

Passage of the COVID stimulus bill became even more protracted when Senator Ron Johnson insisted its 628 pages be read aloud, as Americans keenly await the much-needed $1,400 checks that are part of the package.

The delay by the Wisconsin Republican, which he said was aimed at "educating" the public about the contents of the American Rescue Plan, is the latest hurdle in getting the $1.9 trillion legislation through Congress.

The Senate bill released on Thursday amends what was passed by the House last week and largely resembles President Joe Biden's proposals.

The relief package, which required Vice President Kamala Harris' casting vote to advance in the 50-50 Senate, also offers expanded unemployment benefits, aid for state and local governments, and funding for vaccination programs and school reopenings.

Economic stimulus checks
Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing at the Philadelphia Financial Center in this illustrative image. Congress is haggling over the American Rescue Plan which includes $1,400 for individuals. Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

The biggest headline grabber is the full payment of $1,400 per person for those earning less than $75,000 a year or for married couples earning less than $150,000.

However, the checks will phase out more quickly than initially proposed, completely cutting off at $80,000 for individuals and married couples earning more than $160,000.

Time is of the essence with around 11.4 million workers about to lose their unemployment benefits between March 14 and April 11, unless the bill is passed quickly, according to The Century Foundation.

Democrats want to get the legislation over the line before that date. If it is signed immediately by Biden, Americans could receive payments more quickly than the first stimulus payment.

On March 25, 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which was signed into law by former President Donald Trump. Those eligible started to receive $1,200 checks from April 15 2020, three weeks after the bill was passed, although money started appearing directly in some peoples' bank accounts several days earlier.

However, there have been some serious delays and the Taxpayer Advocate Service said "many individuals" would have to wait until this year to receive their checks.

Americans also got another round of checks, worth $600, after Trump signed a second stimulus bill on December 27, 2020 that had been passed by Congress before Christmas.

The IRS said that the first checks started going out on December 29 ahead of the official payment date of January 4, and that money was sent through to January 15.

Based on the IRS timeline for the second round of stimulus checks, if the American Rescue Plan is passed by March 12—the Friday before the jobless aid expires, Americans could be receiving their payments in the second half of this month, according to MoneyWise.

Analysis by CNET suggested that if Congress approved the stimulus checks on March 12 and it was signed into law on Sunday, March 14, the first direct deposit check could be sent on the week of March 22.

The first paper checks would come a week later, while the first EIP (Economic Impact Payment) cards would be sent the week of April 5, it said.

If Congress approved the stimulus check on Monday, March 22 and it was signed into law the next day, the first deposit check could be sent in the week of March 29, according to CNET.

Paper checks would be sent out the week of April 5 and the first EIP cards could be sent the week of April 12. The latest proposal gives a December 31 2021 cut-off to sending out the third stimulus checks.

Complicating matters is the prospect of further changes to the criteria for those receiving the checks. Also, they could be approved and ready to go in the middle of tax season, which might impact the IRS's processing and delivery plans, CNET reported.

However, if the bill is passed this weekend and swiftly signed by Biden, those eligible for payments could get their money as early as the weekend of March 13, according to Chris Krueger, managing director of Washington, DC. research group Cowen & Co.

"By next weekend, a couple making less than $160,000 could well have $2,800 deposited into their checking account," he said in a research note, cited by CBS.