BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - This week marks one year since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, and Congress is working to fix some of the damage left behind.
The coronavirus relief bill, otherwise known as the American Rescue Plan, includes the popular stimulus checks and extra unemployment benefits.
It has a few quick tweaks to get through, and President Biden says he will sign the bill as soon as it hits his desk.
The stimulus checks will be $1,400 for most Americans.
The government could provide $5,600 for a family of four, making less than $100,000 a year.
And those checks could be here for some people by Easter.
“It’s going to be the same as last time, where the rollout takes a little while. Some people get it earlier, some people get it later, but it is coming,” said Wendy Barlin, a certified public accountant.
Barlin’s biggest advice for people right now in order to get a stimulus check sooner is to file your tax returns for 2020.
“If you have a current bank account on file with the IRS, you will get your stimulus money directly deposited into your bank account. That is the quickest and the safest way to get your money, otherwise they don’t know where to find you. Then they have to mail you a check,” said Barlin.
If you insist on getting a hard check, you have to make sure the government has your current address, so the check doesn’t get lost in the mail.
“If your situation has changed from 2019 to 2020, file that 2020 tax return right away, so they can see that you made less than that cutoff for 2020, and you’ll get your money,” said Barlin.
The bill extends emergency unemployment benefits, expands the child tax credit, and earned income tax credits, and provides billions of dollars for rental and homeowner assistance.
Congressman Garret Graves didn’t vote for the bill because he says only around 8% of it focuses on COVID-19 and relief, but there are some things he likes.
“The additional dollars to get vaccines out there, additional funds for schools, additional funds for testing. I do believe that looking at targeted stimulus payments for those that need it most. I’m for those things,” said Congressman Graves, a republican.
Part of the bill includes a plan to temporarily raise the child tax credit, from $2,000 to to $3,600 per child a year. Supporters say that could permanently change the way the country deals with child poverty.
“A child tax credit really does compliment that and recognizes some of the additional expenses that many parents across America have incurred. A lot of the expenses they’ve incurred as a result of pivoting to virtual schooling and trying to manage or struggle kids at home while some of them have to be at work,” said Congressman Graves.
“As it rolls out, that is supposedly going to be prepaid. That means that you will get it this year, rather than have to wait until next year when you file your tax return,” said Barlin.
If you don’t get your stimulus check right now, Barlin says to make sure to file your tax return. There is a box called the ‘recovery rebate credit.’
Say on there, that you are eligible but did not receive your money, and the government will send it to you. And with direct deposit, you could receive your money in five days.
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