Covid-19

Stimulus Paper Checks Begin to Arrive in El Paso

Maria Martinez reached out to us yesterday to share with us that she received her stimulus check in the mail. In a text message exchange, Maria Martinez told us that she was pleasantly surprised to find a $600 stimulus check in her mailbox yesterday. Martinez told us that she will use the stimulus money to pay her car insurance and buy some household goods she has been putting off. Martinez works in the healthcare industry and is happy to have been able to keep her job.

Copy of paper stimulus check provided to El Paso Politics on January 7, 2021

Martinez told us that her sister has not been as lucky. Her sister was laid off in March 2020. Martinez told us that her sister received her stimulus money on Monday, January 4 by direct deposit into her checking account.

In a January 3 report without a byline, KTSM reported that at least one El Paso couple had received their stimulus check. According to KTSM, the couple received their check via direct deposit.

Nationally, many taxpayers reported seeing their stimulus money in their accounts during the weekend of January 2.

The IRS has until January 15 to deliver the latest round of stimulus money under the legislation. There are various reports of individuals complaining that they have not received their money and that the IRS tracking tool does not provide them any information.

In a website post Jackson Hewitt, a national tax preparation company, blamed the lack of checks on the IRS. The IRS has only said that some taxpayers may have to wait until they file their 2020 tax returns.

Screen capture from Jackson Hewitt website, January 8, 2021

According to Jackson Hewitt, “millions of payments were sent to the wrong accounts.”

Debit Cards For Some Americans

The U.S. government is sending out stimulus money as direct deposits directly into taxpayer checking accounts, via paper checks and by debit cards. The debit cards are called an Economic Impact Payment Card. According to the IRS, the debit cards will be sent to approximately 8 million Americans instead of the paper checks. The IRS says that the debit cards are faster to process.

Is There Another Stimulus Check On The Way?

Incoming president Joe Biden said last year that the $900 billion stimulus bill passed in December was a “down payment”. The stimulus package included the $600 that Americans have been receiving this week.

After the Democrats won the two Georgia seats giving them control of Congress, the likelihood of another round of stimulus checks has increased significantly. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who will be the majority leader said that “one of the first” things that he will do when the new Senate is seated is to “deliver the $2,000 checks” to taxpayers.

It is expected that the next round of stimulus checks will be $1,400 per individual which when added to the $600 will make the stimulus payments the $2,000 blocked by the Republicans last year.

However, it will likely be March before Congress can pass another stimulus package and start sending the stimulus money to taxpayers.

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