The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which the President signed into law on Dec. 27, includes another round of Economic Impact Payments for individuals. The payments are expected to begin in late December and will be made by Jan. 15. Unlike the CARES Act, which provided a maximum payment of $1,200, this bill provides up to $600 per individual before phasing out the amount. Direct payment checks will be provided to every adult and child earning up to $75,000. Individuals earning between $75,000 and $99,000 will get smaller checks, and individuals earning over $99,000 will not receive a payment.
The bill also includes other relief for families, such as allowing families who experience income loss to use 2019 income to determine eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. It also provides greater flexibility for families with Flexible Spending Accounts, since many experienced changes in child care expenses. Finally, the bill prioritizes educational assistance for individuals—provisions include allowing up to $5,250 of employer-provided student debt payments to be excluded from gross income.