BOSTON (CBS) – The U.S. government has begun issuing stimulus checks. The Treasury Department says that by week’s end, more than 80 million eligible Americans will receive their one-time payments.
“We appreciate the payment; we appreciate the fact that the government is thinking about the American people during this crisis,” said Lou Lange, a federal contractor from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Lange received his payment through a direct deposit. The money hit his account Wednesday morning. “Even with the stimulus coming in, which does help, we are still worried about how long this is going to last,” Lange said.
The first wave of payments will go out to taxpayers who’ve filed in the last two years. The IRS likely has their information and will deposit the money in their bank accounts. Every adult will receive $1,200; married couples filing jointly are eligible for $2400 – and an added $500 payment for those with children 16 and younger.
Earners who make more than $75,000 will see less. Taxpayers grossing more than $95,000 likely won’t qualify. And U.S. residents who haven’t authorized direct deposit and don’t want to wait for a check in the mail can register their account with the IRS online.
“This is really not a stimulus package that you’d see typically at the beginning of a recession, because you just can’t go out and spend money you’re being confined to your home. This is a lifeline,” said Michael Klein, an economist and Fletcher School professor at Tufts.
Also getting a financial lifeline are the millions of Americans who owe student debt. Many of them are health care workers in the throes of this crisis. The Coronavirus Economic Relief Plan will give borrowers with government-held student loans a break on payments for six months. Perkins loans and private loans don’t qualify.
“It suspends interest, so interest is no longer accruing. And it also suspends payments on loans, and it suspends collections,” said student loan attorney Adam Minsky. “Not having to worry about that bill, which is often the biggest or second-biggest monthly payment obligation that they have, is a huge relief.”