Your third stimulus check — for as much as $1,400 — just got approved by the U.S. House, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the other Democrats who control Congress hurry to meet a deadline for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.
The president says there’s “no time to waste.”
If things continue to go as planned, you could have more money to pay down debt, take care of bills, build up your emergency savings, invest or just splurge within a matter of weeks.
But there are still a few potential roadblocks. Here’s an update, including the latest estimate on how soon to expect your next stimulus check.
The new stimulus checks pass major test
The COVID rescue bill — which includes not only the stimulus checks but also more funding for vaccines, $400 a week in extra benefits for unemployed Americans, and a controversial increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour — passed the House early on Saturday.
Democrats are trying to complete a bill for Biden to sign before the current, $300-a-week federal jobless benefits run out March 14.
“Now, the bill moves to the United States Senate, where I hope it will receive quick action. We have no time to waste,” the president said Saturday at the White House. “If we act now, decisively, quickly and boldly, we can finally get ahead of this virus. We can finally get our economy moving again.”
The stimulus checks are expected to help cover essential needs for many people struggling through the pandemic, as was the case with the two earlier rounds. The first $1,200 payments distributed last spring were mostly spent on household expenses like groceries and rent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
With those needs met, others used some of the cash for saving and investing, a bureau survey found, or for other expenses that may have included buying affordable life insurance — demand for those policies has seen a surge amid COVID.
How soon will you get your money?
Senate Democratic leaders aim to save time by not putting the bill before various committees — and sending it directly to a vote by the full Senate. But there’s a risk some portions of the legislation may bog things down.
The bill may not draw any support from Senate Republicans, who say it’s too expensive. In the House, all Republicans voted no. Democrats hold the Senate by the thinnest of majorities and might make revisions to keep all of their troops in line — because some members of the party have issues.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and fellow Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin are against the $15 minimum wage. Their objections may be moot now, because the Senate’s parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the minimum-wage provision must be dropped from the bill. But proponents are trying to bring it back.
Manchin, who’s from West Virginia, also has questioned the income limits for the stimulus checks. The previous two payments phased out for individuals earning more than $75,000 a year, and the current plan is to keep Round 3 the same. But Manchin has supported lowering the threshold.
If Democrats are able to hold together and make their pre-March 14 deadline, and if Biden signs the bill immediately, the IRS could start distributing stimulus checks within days. Which means you could receive your payment as soon as the second half of March.
What if you need money right away?
That means the new relief is still at least several weeks away. If you can’t wait and need more money right now, here are a few ways you might find a little extra cash:
Cut the cost of your debt. If your plastic has been carrying you through the pandemic, you’re probably piling up costly interest. Make your debt more manageable — and shake it off more quickly — by folding your balances into a single debt consolidation loan at lower interest.
Shrink your insurance bills. Car insurance companies have been offering customers discounts as everyone has been driving way less because of COVID. If yours isn’t willing to negotiate, why not shop around for a better deal? And while you’re at it, you could save hundreds by comparing rates to find a lower price on homeowners insurance.
Refinance your mortgage (if you’ve got one) and slash your payments. If you haven’t looked around for a lower rate on your home loan in the last year, there’s no better time than now. Refinancing your existing mortgage could reap big savings. An estimated 16.7 million U.S. homeowners could reduce their monthly house payments by an average $303 through a refi, according to mortgage tech and data provider Black Knight.
What if you won’t get a stimulus check this time?
Again, Congress is moving ahead with the same income limits on stimulus checks as before — meaning if you got a full payment last time, you’ll get one again.
But if it looks like you aren’t going to receive the full $1,400 check — or get any payment at all — there are a couple of things you can do:
File your 2020 taxes ASAP. You could still qualify for a stimulus check if your income dropped in 2020 because of the pandemic. You’ll want to get that information in front of the tax agency ASAP, because it will base your eligibility on your most recent tax return. Log into a good tax software product and submit your 2020 return immediately.
Trim your budget and “make your own” stimulus check. By finding a few creative ways to cut back, you might squeeze $1,400 out of your current budget. Call up your cellphone provider and switch to a more budget-friendly package. Turn your hobby or special talent into a side hustle to bring in extra income. And, download a free browser extension that will automatically scour for better prices and coupons whenever you shop online.
This article is auto-generated by Algorithm Source: finance.yahoo.com