In a change from the last round of coronavirus relief, families with an undocumented member will be eligible for a stimulus check this time.
The relief bill passed by Congress Monday makes the $600 payment available to American citizens and U.S. residents, even if they file taxes jointly with someone who is undocumented. It will also allow for mixed-status families to receive a $600 check for their children, as long as the child has legal status.
Under the CARES Act passed in March, U.S. citizens or legal residents with an undocumented spouse were blocked from receiving any payment at all. The exclusion was met with outcry and lawsuits when the first round of payments went out in April.
About 1.4 million people have an undocumented spouse and about 3.7 million children are part of mixed-status families, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Most families impacted were in states with large immigrant populations, such as California, Texas, New York and Florida.
The new bill also changes language in the CARES Act that excluded mixed-status families, meaning Americans with an undocumented spouse are now also eligible for the $1,200 individual payments sent out earlier this year, plus the $500 supplement for children.
President Trump is expected to sign the relief bill as soon as Tuesday after it passed the House and Senate late Monday night. The $900 billion deal is attached to a $1.4 trillion government spending bill and other measures.
As soon as it’s signed into law, the $600 stimulus checks could start hitting Americans’ bank accounts by early next week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.
“The good news is this is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy. Let me emphasize: People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week,” Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC.
In the first round, the checks were approved as part of the relief bill signed in late March, but it still took about two weeks for Americans to see them in their bank accounts, with more people getting them about three weeks after. For those receiving a physical check by mail, it took longer.
Still, the IRS worked out kinks in the distribution process the first time around, including a new application through which people can change or input their bank account information and also track their payment.
On Monday, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said that most payments should go out within three weeks. In April’s round, the department sent out nearly 160 million payments, which accounts for most U.S. adults.