WPRI 12 News Washington DC Bureau

‘Help is on the way’: $600 stimulus checks should be sent out no later than Jan. 15


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Keep an eye on those bank accounts and the mail box, because congressional members said the $600 stimulus check could be in people’s hands in a matter of days.

President Donald Trump signed the massive bipartisan bill and government funding package Sunday that will provide economic help to millions of Americans and avoids a government shutdown.

“Help is on the way,” Langevin said. “They should have it in days, from what I understand.”

Americans who make under $75,000 per year will soon receive a one-time $600 check based on their 2019 income, but one thing congressional Democrats and President Trump agree on is that $600 is not enough.

On Monday evening, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would give Americans a $2,000 stimulus check, instead of the $600 one. The bill now has to go to the Senate, but it’s expected to hit a roadblock there.

“This will go a long way toward helping people get through this coronavirus crisis we are dealing with right now,” Langevin said.

R.I. Senator Jack Reed isn’t confident $2,000 payments will get Republican’s approval in the Senate.

Senate Republicans believe the bill to change the stimulus amount to $2,000 is poorly targeted and should go only to people who lose their job in the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, I would expect an objection, but we have to keep hammering away,” Reed said.

R.I. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse also said he’s in support of the larger check.

“I support authorizing $2,000 stimulus checks to boost the economy and provide more stability for millions of people as we head into what may be the most difficult months of this pandemic,” Whitehouse said. “For that to happen, President Trump will need to change the minds of the members of his own party who continue to block the measure.”

The Treasury Department is supposed to send out the stimulus checks no later than Jan. 15. If you don’t get it by then, you’ll have to claim it on your next tax return.

Included in the $900 billion package is an extension of the paycheck protection program and rental assistance for struggling families, along with a $300 boost in unemployment benefits.

The R.I. Department of Labor and Training (DLT) says this increase in benefits is coming as early as next week.

“They will be paid next week,” R.I. DLT Director Scott Jensen said.

The unemployment benefits will come automatically, with the last payment of that boost scheduled for the week of March 14.

“I can tell you for sure you will get it so please don’t call the call center and let us just get it to you,” Jensen said.

Rhode Island leaders are still working to figure out how much the state will receive from this second round of federal support.

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