The first batch of stimulus payments has reportedly been or was in the process of being directly deposited electronically into some taxpayers’ bank accounts this week. But it’s a different story for the actual physical paper checks, which were expected to take longer to be delivered.
Despite the urgent need for the money to relieve financial burdens amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down the nation’s economy, the physical checks are being delayed even further in an apparent case of the president’s vanity. Donald Trump has ordered the U.S. Treasury to print the checks with the president’s name on it instead of using the standard Treasury checks, the Washington Post reported Tuesday night.
That’s right: The delivery of the stimulus checks could be delayed because Trump wanted recipients to see his name in the upper left-hand corner of the check (even though they’re more concerned about the numerical figure on the right-hand side).
“It will be the first time a president’s name appears on an IRS disbursement, whether a routine refund or one of the handful of checks the government has issued to taxpayers in recent decades either to stimulate a down economy or share the dividends of a strong one,” the Post wrote.
The Treasury Department told the Post that checks would not be delayed. But if Trump made the decision late Monday, as the Post reported, that that would mean that the checks with his name on it had not been printed yet and would likely not be sent according to the timetable that was originally set weeks ago. All because the president wants to have his name on the check.
The checks were always expected to be delivered later than the payments that were directly deposited. Initial reports indicated that it could take as long as four months for checks to arrive in the mail. The Washington Post previously reminded readers that the last time stimulus payments were sent — during the 2008 financial crisis — the entire process “took about eight weeks for the final people to receive their checks.”
Payments are guaranteed to about 80 percent of American adults and based on simple formulas:
People who earn $75,000 or less are guaranteed to get a payment of $1,200. There will be an additional $500 payment for each child claimed. There is relief for folks earning more than that, but not much more as people raking in more than $99,000 annually are exempt from getting any payment at all. Those earning between $75,000 and $99,000 are expected to receive payments at a reduced rate that is $5 fewer for every $100 more than $75,000 earned per year.
Married couples are eligible to receive no more than $2,400 if they collectively make less than $150,000 annually and can get smaller payments with total salaries not exceeding $198,000. They, too, are set to get $500 for each child.
Lastly, single parents earning up to $112,500 are also eligible to receive $1,200 payments with other heads of household earning no more than $136,500 getting less. The $500 per child policy also applies here.
People will receive paper checks if they indicated in past tax filings that to be their preferred method of payment. If there was no preference indicated, then a paper check will be mailed to the physical address associated with the filing. For those who have not yet filed 2019’s taxes, the government could look at the 2018 taxes and remit a payment based on that preference. Otherwise, the government will defer to paper checks, something that was originally forecast to take months to receive.
This is America.