Northeast Florida residents relieved $1,400 stimulus checks will go out soon

The House on Wednesday approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that provides direct payments of up to $1,400 for most Americans, and President Joe Biden said he’d sign the measure on Friday.

Based on how quickly stimulus payments have reached bank accounts after other relief bills passed, the $1,400 payments could start to show up next week.

Since it’s been expected the American Rescue Plan would pass, News4Jax on Wednesday asked people in Northeast Florida how they plan to spend their stimulus checks.

While Tracy Rolle joked she’ll use the money to hire someone to do landscaping, in reality, she said, she’s going to use it to “catch up on some bills.”

Rolle takes care of her father, an Army veteran who suffered a stroke last year.

“Last year was difficult,” Rolle said. “We lost a lot, not just jobs, but family members, friends. It was hard.”

And while the $1,400 stimulus payment for Rolle will be used to catch up on bills, mother of two Tonetta Lane-Bynes said she will use the stimulus money to prepare for a rainy day.

“What we’re going to do with the stimulus money is really save it,” Lane-Bynes said. “JEA doesn’t stop paying their bills, the mortgage doesn’t stop coming, your job, you could not be getting the hours you’re used to, but that’s not stopping life from happening.”

Regardless of how the money will be spent, both women agreed that having it will be a relief.

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In St. Augustine, resident Terri Erickson also plans to save the payment.

“We’ll probably put towards savings since we are retiring in a year,” Erickson said.

While the money is intended to stimulate the economy by giving people funds to go shopping, several people told News4Jax they see it as an opportunity to pay down their debt.

“Probably pay off a little bit of debt that I have,” said resident Greg West. “No fun money this time.”

Others had different plans on how to spend the money.

“We’re building a house, so I’m putting it to our house,” said resident Jean St. Pierre.

Resident Sheilia Hunt said: “The front doorstep needs fixing. That sounds so exciting.”

Tourist Jeff Turse said he’s against the handout of stimulus checks.

“They’re burying our children in debt. I have an 11- and a 6-year-old, and they’re going to be paying for it until they’re in their 40s or 50s,” he said. “We can’t keep handing out free money. It’s going to bankrupt our country and put us more in a hole.”

The legislation provides a direct payment of $1,400 for a single taxpayer, or $2,800 for a married couple that files jointly, plus $1,400 per dependent. Individuals earning up to $75,000 would get the full amount, as would married couples with incomes up to $150,000. The size of the check would shrink for those making slightly more, with a hard cut-off at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples.

Biden said payments would start going out this month. While the IRS has not come out and said exactly when the money will hit bank accounts, it’s safe to assume it will be done similarly to the first two rounds, with payments first going out to those with direct deposit and eventually trickling down to sending out paper checks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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