HOUSTON - The U.S. Treasury Department says the second round of stimulus checks started being direct-deposited into some bank accounts last night and paper checks started being mailed out today.
"If you got it direct deposited last time, you should be getting it very soon," said financial expert Bobbi Rebell with the Tally app.
If you don't receive a stimulus payment by direct deposit by early January, the IRS says watch your mail for a debit card or paper check. Debit cards will be issued by MetaBank and arrive in white envelopes with the U.S. Treasury seal. You can learn more about them at EIPcard.com.
These checks will be $600 per individual earning less than $75,000 a year, or $1200 for a couple earning less than $150,000, plus $600 per child, based on your most recent tax return.
Reduced amounts will be paid to people who earn more, with caps at $87,000 for individuals and $174,000 for couples.
You can estimate the amount you'll receive using the stimulus calculator created by Omni Calculator.
Rebell says the best way to use your check is for needed essentials first, such as food, rent, or medicine, then as an emergency fund.
"Look at that liquid cash savings, cash that is immediately accessible, and build that up. If you get past that, what I want you to do is then turn to your debt," she said.
The IRS is updating the "Get My Payment" tool on its website and app. You can check the status of both stimulus checks once the tool is back up.
People who don't file tax returns, such as those receiving Social Security, Disability, or Railroad Retirement benefits, will get a stimulus check in the same format they received the last one.
If the IRS doesn't have your current bank account information and you didn't update it on the IRS's non-filer site, it's too late. You'll receive your stimulus by debit card or paper check.
People who don't receive the first or second stimulus checks but qualify can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 tax returns.
"If you got your money no problem last time, you're probably in good shape. But don't be afraid to follow up if you don't receive the money," said Rebell.
Two bills to increase the stimulus checks to $2,000 have both stalled in the Senate, so the amount will stay at $600.