The IRS announced recently that it had begun the process of distributing another batch of third-round stimulus payments worth up to $1,400 to eligible Americans. This newest batch sees the IRS continue a trend that it started with the prior batch, with both of these most recent bundles of payments constituting two weeks’ worth of stimulus payments; previously, batches of payments were distributed weekly. As a result, the newest batch is larger than many of the batches distributed in recent weeks and includes more than 2.3 million stimulus payments worth a total of over $4.2 billion.
Like many of the more recent batches, this newest batch again sees the IRS focusing its efforts on sending payments out to those people whose eligibility for stimulus payments is dependent on the agency’s processing of their 2020 tax returns. This includes more than 900,000 payments worth roughly $1.9 billion distributed to those people about whom the IRS did not have sufficient information to send payment prior to receiving their 2020 tax returns.
This new batch of stimulus payments also includes a significant amount of what the IRS refers to as “plus-up” payments. These supplemental payments are designed for those people whose initial eligibility for a third-round stimulus payment of up to $1,400 was based on information contained in their 2019 tax returns, but whose 2020 returns indicate a loss of income or a change in dependent status that entitles them to a larger payment. The new batch of payments includes more than 1.1 million plus-up payments with a total value of $2.5 billion. The IRS has now distributed more than 8 million plus-up payments this year.
The new batch of payments includes 1.2 million direct deposit payments worth more than $2.2 billion, with the remainder sent out as paper checks.
With the new batch of payments, the IRS has now distributed 169 million third-round stimulus payments with a total value of roughly $395 billion. The American Rescue Plan made $410 billion available for use in the third round of stimulus payments. According to the IRS, the agency will continue to send payments on a weekly basis to those people whose payments are dependent on their 2020 tax returns. The focus on sending payments to this group of people, which suggests that most eligible Americans have now received their payments, indicates that the IRS may be approaching the end of its campaign to distribute the payments.
Eli Fuhrman is a contributing writer for The National Interest.