Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says stimulus checks will go out as soon as next week, faster than the single round that was provided in spring following the CARES Act. “People are going to see this money the beginning of next week,” he said on CNBC Monday. “Much needed relief—and just in time for the holidays.” Except for the part that it’s after Christmas and barely relief. It’s better than a kick in the teeth, though, which has been pretty much all Republicans have been able to promise thus far.
That’s when they should start rolling out, and here’s what to expect as far as stimulus. This time around, dependent children are also eligible for the full $600, instead of the partial $500 payment children were worth under the CARES Act. Single people who earned up to $75,000 in 2019 will get $600 and married couples earning up to $150,000 in 2019 will get $1,200, half of what the CARES Act provided. The boost on dependent aid helps those struggling the most a little, as does the unemployment insurance boost of $300/week, broadband assistance, rental, and nutrition help. But for people who made more than $75,000/$150,000 in 2019, the payments will phaseout, decreasing until those individuals making $99,000 and couples making $198,000 get nothing. A problem here is that it is based on 2019 income and there will be people who did well last year only to have it all fall apart this year. Which is one reason means testing is bad, no matter what policy you’re talking about unless it’s a progressive income tax structure.
The text of the bill released by House Democrats says the $600 is available to each “child dependent,” and for “qualifying children (within the meaning of section 24(c)” of the tax code. The qualifying age cuts off at age 17, so it would seem dependent college students, for example, aren’t eligible. “Mixed status” households, a summary from House Democrats says, will get full relief. That means legal immigrants without Green Cards, or resident alien status, will be eligible for the checks.