A Third Stimulus Check? Biden Says $2,000 Checks Will "Go Out the Door" if Democrats Win in Georgia

While campaigning in Georgia on Monday, President-Elect Biden made a bold statement about a third-round of stimulus checks.

picture of Joe Biden at Atlanta rally
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Is a third stimulus check in your future? And, if so, how much would you get? According to President-Elect Joe Biden, if Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock beat incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in Tuesday's Georgia runoff elections, then "$2,000 checks will go out the door." This statement, made during a campaign event for Ossoff and Warnock in Atlanta on Monday, is the strongest indication yet that Biden will push for a third stimulus check after his inauguration. (As of early Wednesday morning, Warnock was declared the winner of his race, but the contest between Ossoff and Perdue was too close to call.)

It was just a few days ago that Senate Republicans blocked a vote for a House-passed bill (the CASH Act) that would have increased second-round stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000. The CASH Act would have also (1) bumped the extra per-child second stimulus check amount from $600 to $2,000, and (2) allowed the extra payment for any dependent, regardless of age, rather than just for children age 16 or younger.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the CASH Act "socialism for the rich" because it would have authorized payments to wealthy people who weren't impacted by the pandemic, instead of only targeting people in need. Since Republicans currently control the Senate, he was able to avoid a vote on the bill, which was passed last week by the House. Without a vote, the CASH Act expired at noon on Sunday when the 116th Congress ended.

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However, if both Ossoff and Warnock win their respective Georgia runoff elections, Democrats will take control of the Senate and McConnell will no longer determine which bills get a vote in the Senate. With Democrats in control of the House, the Senate, and the Executive branch (after Biden is inaugurated on January 20), a third-round of stimulus checks seems likely. There were even a number of Republican Senators that came out in favor of $2,000 stimulus checks last week – including both Sens. Loeffler and Perdue (Ossoff and Warnock also support $2,000 checks). So, if a vote is allowed on another bill authorizing $2,000 stimulus checks, it has a fairly good chance of passing.

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Second Stimulus Checks Are Being Sent Now

In the meantime, the IRS started sending out second stimulus checks last week. Your second-round payment will be for $600, plus $600 for each child age 16 or younger. If your 2019 adjusted gross income is $75,000 or less for single filers and $150,000 or less for married couples filing joint returns, you'll generally receive the full amount of your second stimulus check. For Americans with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced. (To see how much you will get, use our Second Stimulus Check Calculator (opens in new tab).)

Most payments will be by direct deposit. However, if the IRS doesn't already have your bank account information, you'll receive either a paper check or a debit card in the mail (assuming you're eligible to receive a second stimulus check).

If you don't receive a second stimulus check (or a first one), you'll be able to claim the amount you should have received as a "recovery rebate" credit on your 2020 federal income tax return. This will lower your tax bill and possibly trigger a refund. (The IRS is expected to start accepting 2020 tax returns in late January or early February.)

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky is a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger with more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.