Relief for Americans affected by the economic crash due to COVID-19 shutdowns started over the weekend when the IRS tweeted it began to deposit stimulus payments into the bank accounts of eligible Americans.
"#IRS deposited the first Economic Impact Payments into taxpayers' bank accounts today," the IRS tweeted.
"We know many people are anxious to get their payments; we'll continue issuing them as fast as we can."
#IRS deposited the first Economic Impact Payments into taxpayers’ bank accounts today. We know many people are anxious to get their payments; we’ll continue issuing them as fast as we can. For #COVIDreliefIRS updates see: https://t.co/hEEWmgHA9V pic.twitter.com/2bSHOTjMAS— IRS (@IRSnews) April 11, 2020
The stimulus payments are the centerpiece of the $2.2 trillion rescue package to cushion the country during a collapse in economic growth triggered by the pandemic. A much broader disruption of the payments is expected this week.
Those who make $75,000 or less are expected to receive $1,200 checks. Married couples who make less than $150,000 will be issued $2,400 checks and $500 per child under 17.
A press release via the House Ways and Means Committee Republicans said the first round of payments would be made into people's bank accounts who are eligible. The first round of payments could provide some form of relief for about 60 million people. Those who don't use direct deposit will receive a check in the mail, that is expected to begin on April 20.
The IRS will base incomes from 2018 and 2019 tax returns to process the payments.
During the 2008 financial crisis, the government issued direct deposit stimulus payments that were distributed over three weeks, while paper checks took about ten weeks.
In terms of employment, today's crisis is more severe than a decade ago, nearly 17 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in three weeks.
With the labor market in free fall, the difference between today and the 2008 crisis is that the unraveling has been the quickest ever. The unemployment rate has surpassed the 10% peak of the last recession, now somewhere around 13% or 14%, and likely to go much higher through April.
As for the stimulus checks, it will provide very little relief to consumers who have no savings, insurmountable debts, and are in a rent based society. There's no timeline on when the economy will recover.