What You Need to Know About the $2 Trillion CARES Act

When Should You Get Your Check?

By: Olivia Frasca

President Donald Trump signed the historic coronavirus bill into law on March 27. Credit: Axios

On March 25 the Senate approved a $2 trillion stimulus relief package in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The House passed the bill shortly after and President Donald Trump signed off hours later on March 27.

The emergency legislation titled the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is the most expensive in U.S. history. COVID-19 has put a strain on the economy and a pause on normal life. Leaders have urged people to practice social distancing as non-essential businesses, schools, and universities have closed down. 

“The bill is the largest relief package in U.S. history and extends aid to many struggling Americans through direct payments and expanded unemployment insurance. The package provides loans and grants to businesses, augments drained state coffers and sends additional resources to sapped health-care providers,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The CARES Act will provide most taxpayers with aid in the form of payment. The U.S. Treasury will distribute checks to eligible individuals as early as April 14. 

If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and opted for direct deposit, your aid should show up in your bank account. If not, the check should be mailed to you. 

The highest payout for a single adult is $1,200, $2,400 for a married couple, and $500 per child under 17 years old. The check amount will decrease if an annual income is above the designated thresholds of $75,000 for an adult, $150,000 for a couple, and $112,500 for Head of Household.  

This means that a single filer with an income of more than $99,000 and a married couple with an income of more than $198,000 will not qualify for a check at all. 

Most college students will not be eligible for a check under these criteria. Dependents over the age of 17 will not receive a payment even if they filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return. 

Most U.S. taxpayers are eligible for a stimulus check. Credit: Forbes

In the wake of the pandemic, the U.S. Treasury and IRS have also extended the 2019 tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. 

“If you qualify for a payment, you should expect a notice in the mail from the government with information about where and when it sent your check. If you receive the notice but not the check or direct deposit, contact the IRS using information in the notice,” according to CNET.

The U.S. Department of Labor released record breaking numbers on unemployment applications as the coronavirus has halted or limited most business operations. Over 16 million people have applied for unemployment benefits in the past three weeks. 

The CARES Act also tops the $800 billion stimulus bill signed by former President Barack Obama during the 2009 recession. 

The effects of the pandemic are reflected in recent stock market trends and circuit breakers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 3,000 points in a single day on March 16 but has since recovered. 

Legislators are in talks of another round of aid after the speedy passing of the CARES Act. It is unclear if the second wave will be as massive as $2 trillion or extend to more taxpayers including college students.


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