Why Getting a Third Stimulus Check Isn't Guaranteed Even if You Received the First Two

As President Joe Biden continues to push for $1,400 stimulus checks in coronavirus relief measures, some speculation suggests not everyone will be able to receive the full $1,400, even if they did receive the previous two stimulus checks.

Ways that Congress may alter the third stimulus to pass it include adjusting the amount that people are expected to receive. It could set another income cutoff point that's different than the previous two stimulus checks. It could also use a different formula to calculate who is or is not qualified for the check, according to CNET.

The first two stimulus checks, in April and December, were given to Americans who earned $75,000 a year or less. In slight changes with the second round, dependent children qualified for the same $600 that their parents would receive, whereas they only received $500 during the first round of $1,200 checks. Married couples who file jointly and earn up to $150,000 per year could have received double the amount (i.e. one stimulus for each person).

If the third stimulus check passes, the amounts may vary for those who earn more than $75,000 per year. According to $600 and $1,400 stimulus check calculators from CNET, a single person with no dependents earning $85,000 per year would have qualified for $100 of the second stimulus, but may be entitled to $900 under a proposed $1,400 stimulus. This all appears to be dependent on how the amount decreases as yearly income increases.

Plans for bigger stimulus checks have tended to qualify people with higher incomes for the larger checks. For example, a House-passed plan for $2,000 stimulus checks in January would have allowed single people earning below $115,000 to receive the stimulus as opposed to the first stimulus' cap at $99,000 per year. The cut-off for the second stimulus was $87,000.

Despite these proposals and past stimulus checks, Biden has said that he's open to negotiate who will qualify for a third stimulus check, saying nothing is set in stone. "There's legitimate reason for people to say: 'Do you have the lines drawn the exact right way? Should it go to anybody making over X number of dollars or why?'" he said in a January 25 press conference.

According to a White House spokesperson who replied to a Newsweek email, qualifications for the American Rescue Plan, as Biden's proposal is called, do fall in line with the past two stimuluses' eligibility.

As previously reported, Biden will need at least 10 Republican senators to pass the plan without filibuster, but $1,400 checks and other parts may be passed via the reconciliation process. Other aspects of Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan include upping unemployment benefits, raising the national minimum wage, expanding paid leave, and more.

Stimulus Check COVID RELIEF
Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing at the Philadelphia Financial Center on May 8, 2008 in Philadelphia. Jeff Fusco/Getty

Updated at 11:50 a.m., January 31, to include the reply from the White House spokesperson.