Eighty million Americans are expecting a check this week from the federal government.
These economic impact payments are part of a $2.2 trillion relief package passed by Congress last month. The aim is to give a boost to the economy while retailers, restaurants and other business have had to close amid the COVID19 pandemic.
“This is all designed to help give people a little help. It’s not going to be enough to replace what most people are losing from not working,” said NCSU William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor & Extension Economist Michael Walden.
Individuals who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 and chose direct deposit for their refund will automatically receive an stimulus check of up to $1,200. Married couples are eligible for up to $2,400 and $500 for each qualifying child.
Individual tax filers with a gross income up to $75,000 and up to $150,000 for married couples will receive the full payment. Payments are reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds.
Individuals with income greater than $99,000 and $198,000 for couples with no children are not eligible.
Tim Kennard worked at Mark Christopher Salon in Raleigh before the pandemic. However, with salons closed under an executive order from Governor Cooper, Kennard is working at Starbucks.
Kennard says he and his coworkers kept checking their bank accounts over the last few days in anticipation of the stimulus checks.
“People were getting their notifications yesterday during their shifts and I was not,” he said.
Kennard’s stimulus check appeared in his bank account Wednesday morning. Now he’s trying to plan how to allocate that money.
“What would be the most proactive and smart thing to do since I do have a reduced income right now? What can I prepay or save for to help me,” said Kennard.
Walden says the checks are “no strings attached,” and that it’s not taxable and doesn’t have to be repaid.
He says people can use the money however they want, but he suggests using the funds for necessities.
“This is one of those freebies in life you’re going to get. The government is just giving you this money. You can do whatever you want with it. You don’t have to pay it back,” said Walden.
Kennard plans on using some of the money to pay bills, and using some funds to give back to struggling local businesses.
“Just find little ways that you can kind of help people because I think we’ve all kind of got to look out for one another during this time,” he said.
With so many people trying to check their accounts Wednesday, several banks said they were experiencing issues due to high volume.
A spokesperson for BB&T and SunTrust said some clients experienced issues on digital banking platforms due to higher than normal volume.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused for our clients. Some of the issues have already been resolved, and we’re working as quickly as possible to restore all services,” said the spokesperson.
A Navy Federal spokesperson issued a similar statement saying Navy Federal Credit Union was experiencing high volume through online banking and the mobile app.
“This is intermittently preventing some members from accessing their accounts. We’re working diligently to restore full service as soon as possible,” they said in a statement.
On the US Treasury website, tax filers can check the status of their stimulus check, a well as upload their bank account information if they did not authorized a direct deposit. This way they can receive their payment faster rather than waiting for a mailed paper check.