Federal Treasury Dept. OKs coronavirus stimulus distribution plan for Puerto Rico

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @pete_r_correa

Special to The Star

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced Monday that the U.S. Treasury Department passed island Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés’ plan to distribute the coronavirus stimulus check in Puerto Rico to alleviate some of the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday morning the governor wrote via Twitter that “the aid will start arriving today [Monday]” as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also greenlit its distribution.

Meanwhile, Parés said via Twitter that thousands of islanders might be seeing their check reflected in their bank account as early as today.

“With this, we have agreed on the second-fastest plan in the history of the Treasury Department, second only to the $600 plan finalized under this same administration,” Parés said. “However, it will be the most quickly distributed and the largest in economic magnitude. Save this tweet.”

The payment is part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package created by the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.

Individuals whose gross income did not exceed $75,000, or $150,000 in the case of married couples, during 2019 or 2020, will qualify for the stimulus check. Furthermore, heads of household with a $112,500 salary will also be eligible for the payment; however, those who earn more than $120,000 do not qualify.

The financial assistance package will be distributed to individuals residing in Puerto Rico, with valid Social Security numbers, who have not been claimed as dependents and who did not die before Jan. 1 of this year.

Last month, Parés said he delivered the distribution plan for the economic stimulus signed by President Joe Biden to the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department on March 11, in addition to saying that funding allocations could reach up to $3.5 billion and impact some 2.6 million people in Puerto Rico.

“The process before final approval should take approximately four weeks and we will use that time internally to prepare and begin disbursements immediately after we receive the go-ahead,” the secretary said in a written communication.

“This assistance program is more comprehensive than the first ones we worked on because it will benefit all members of the family, regardless of age,” added Parés. “For example, a married couple with two children could receive a stimulus of $5,600, or $1,400 for each member.”

Meanwhile, the coronavirus stimulus package also extends federal unemployment assistance of $300 per week through September.

As for disbursement, Parés said it will be determined using the 2020 Income Tax Return in the cases of those who have already filed, or the 2019 return for those who have not.

In the case of individuals who are not required to file a tax return, the island Treasury Department will use the information from the alternate form that was prepared for the purpose of sending the assistance in 2020.

It is estimated that most of the payments will be made within four to five weeks after the approval of the plan. The deadline for completing disbursements is Dec. 31.

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