Estimating your ‘$1,400’ stimulus check total is confusing. This calculator shows 2 scenarios

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Here’s how to calculate how much money your household get with a $1,400 stimulus check maximum.


Sarah Tew/CNET

We know the payment size. We just don’t know who is — and isn’t — getting a $1,400 stimulus check. President Joe Biden is holding his ground on his promise to send Americans a $1,400-maximum stimulus payment. Congressional Democrats, however, are just this week working out the details on a new COVID-19 relief package and are undecided about the check’s eligibility limitations, which will determine how much stimulus money your specific household could receive. 

According to the Washington Post, Democrats are split on whether to alter the stimulus check formula, potentially by setting a lower income limit that could bring some families a much smaller check or no money at all from a third stimulus check. Congress is also considering other changes to the stimulus check qualifications for this next round, which will also change the size of your payment. For example, a new qualification could extend $1,400 to dependents of all ages and include more families with mixed-status citizenship

Changes to eligibility could either dramatically increase a household’s stimulus total, or leave you with less stimulus money overall compared to the first two checks. The uncertainty of a rule change makes an estimate trickier to pin down, but we built tools to help estimate your total in two possible scenarios. We also illustrate how a shift in the stimulus formula could affect your total share. This story is frequently updated.

Stimulus check calculator for a ‘targeted’ $1,400 payment

One Democratic proposal, according to The Washington Post, would drop the income limit for individuals and families to qualify for a full stimulus payment. Here’s who would get the full amount under this plan, based on your AGI:

  • Single taxpayer who makes less than $50,000
  • Head of household who makes less than $75,000
  • Married couple filing jointly who make less than $100,000

As an individual’s or couple’s income goes up, the size of the partial payment would get smaller. Under this new proposal, dependents would qualify for a $1,400 payment, up from the $600 Biden outlined in his rescue plan.

The calculator below shows how the payment you could receive phases out at $50 for every $1,000 of income earned above the baseline, which is how the first and second checks were structured. The stimulus calculator won’t store or use your data. (Congress could also decide to phase out payments more aggressively than with the first and second checks, reducing payments $100 for every $1,000 of income earned above the baseline.)

$1,400 ‘targeted’ stimulus check total

Use details from your 2019 or 2020 tax return.

1. Choose your filing status below.

Calculator for a $1,400 check with no changes from the second payment

Let’s say Congress were to approve a third stimulus check for $1,400 using the income requirements for the first and second payments — that is, give the full amount to:

  • Single taxpayer who makes less than $75,000 (based on adjusted gross income)
  • Head of household who makes less than $112,500
  • Married couple filing jointly who make less than $150,000

Depending on circumstances such as your eligible dependents and other qualifications, you could get more or less. This calculator uses the same basic formula as the first two checks and in this scenario, keeps the $600 amount per dependent. (See below to calculate the new proposal.) CNET’s stimulus calculator doesn’t store or use your personal details and provides estimates only.

$1,400 stimulus check total with no changes

Use details from your 2019 or 2020 tax return.

1. Choose your filing status below.

A lower income cap would mean fewer people automatically qualify

When Congress dropped the second stimulus check limit to $600, it automatically disqualified many people, simply because it lowered the income limit (as a result of math).

For example, with the first check, a single tax filer who earned under $75,000 since their previous tax return received the full $1,200. As their adjusted gross income level rose, the total they were entitled to receive fell. After $99,000, they weren’t eligible to get anything at all. 


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With the second check’s $600 maximum amount, the cutoff remained $75,000 to receive the total, but using the formula spelled out in the text of the bill, the threshold to receive any amount of stimulus money as an individual (with no children) is an AGI of $87,000. Make more than that and you’re not eligible for a check. 

If Congress sticks to the same upper income limits for a third stimulus check of $1,400, that would raise that income threshold from $600, making a single taxpayer with an AGI of $75,000 eligible to receive a full payment, with a cutoff to receive a partial payment at $103,000.

With a $1,400 payment using the proposed reduced income cap, however, the lower cap would exclude individuals and families who would have qualified using the first and second check formula. That same single taxpayer now would receive a full $1,400 payment up to an AGI of $50,000 and then phase out completely at $78,000. According to economist Claudia Sahm, it could leave out 40 million people who qualified for the $600 second check.

Dependents would change the equation, which is why we recommend using our stimulus check calculator for a better estimate of your personal financial picture.

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How much money you get and who gets it all hinge on small changes Congress will decide.


Angela Lang/CNET

$600 versus $1,400 checks: Total check size compared

Going from $600 to $1,400 — either with a higher or lower cap on income — is a big leap any way you look at it. So, we wanted to highlight just what a difference the approaches could make with the handy chart below. Note that the first two columns use the same formula, which makes it easier to compare apples with apples, and the third uses the one reportedly under discussion with the lower cap but more money for dependents.

All figures could change in a final stimulus bill and represent the highest amount a household could get, but remember that just like with the first and second payments, there will be reasons some people may not get the full amount

Maximum for $600 vs. $1,400 stimulus checks

$600 stimulus check ($600 per child age 16 or under) $1,400 stimulus check ($600 for dependents of any age) $1,400 stimulus check ($1,400 for dependents of any age)
Individual taxpayer, 0 dependents $600 maximum $1,400 maximum $1,400 maximum
Head of household, 1 dependent $1,200 maximum $2,000 maximum $2,800 maximum
Head of household, 2 dependents $1,800 maximum $2,600 maximum $4,200 maximum
Head of household, 3 dependents $2,400 maximum $3,200 maximum $5,600 maximum
Married couple, 0 dependents $1,200 maximum $2,800 maximum $2,800 maximum
Married couple, 1 dependent $1,800 maximum $3,400 maximum $4,200 maximum
Married couple, 2 dependents $2,400 maximum $4,000 maximum $5,600 maximum
Married couple, 3 dependents $3,000 maximum $4,600 maximum $7,000 maximum

We know Biden wants to expand eligibility in the third stimulus check to dependents of any age. It’s a move that would make approximately 13.5 million more adult dependents able to count toward the household total, according to The People’s Policy Project. Biden’s proposal would also appear to include all families with mixed citizenship status; that is, where at least one family member is a US citizen.

For more information on stimulus checks, here’s how to report missing stimulus money to the IRS, what to do if you’re missing any stimulus money and all the important things you need to know about stimulus checks and your taxes.





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