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Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said Americans could start receiving relief checks within three weeks, as the coronavirus pandemic forces an unprecedented shutdown of the nation's economy, leaving millions unemployed.
"Those checks from the IRS, they'll be out we hope within three weeks," Scalia told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo during a Thursday morning interview. "So that's some immediate cash relief."
The massive $2 trillion stimulus plan includes payments of up to $1,200 for individuals who earn less than $99,000 annually and $2,400 for couples, with $500 added for every child. The aid is based on 2019 tax returns for those who filed them and 2018 information if they have not done so yet.
The benefit begins to taper for individuals making more than $75,000. Individuals who earn more than $99,000 in income will not receive a check. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has previously said that most of the checks will be direct deposited.
The bill, which passed with bipartisan support in the Senate late Wednesday, is now awaiting approval by the House of Representatives.
"With this Senate bill, we're even better positioned to rebound quicker," Scalia said.
The checks come amid a record-breaking spike in unemployment claims: On Thursday, the Labor Department said that 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment from the period between March 15 and March 21.
The number eclipsed the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982 and is well above the levels seen in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. The data dates back to 1967.